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Author of "History of the Library 
University of Missouri." 




Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, 

University of Missouri 


GEORGE WAHR, Publisher 

Copyright 1930 










THE historian who can accurately record the 
ideals, ambitions, and achievements of the pioneers 
is rendering a distinct public service. The second 
and third generations following the original settlers 
have builded upon the character foundations of the 
pioneers. The remarkable development of the 
United States and the sweep of its population from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific is one of the most 
romantic and moving pages in all history. The 
fundamental causes of! the peaceful occupation of a 
continent are to be found in the rugged characters, 
integrity and tireless industry of a pioneer race. 

The author of "Michigan Trailmakers" has made 
a real contribution to our knowledge of this era. 
The account is the more valuable in that it places 
before us the intimate, daily lives of the early 
settlers. Their enthusiasms, their labors, their 
pleasures, their devotion to religious ideals are very 
clearly recorded in this interesting record. 


Dean of the faculty of Agriculture, and Director 
of the Agricultural Experiment Station, University 
of Missouri. 


THE purpose of this story is to put into perma 
nent form a picture of the early settlement of south 
ern Michigan, particularly the section embraced in 
the limits of Oakland County. Charles is a repre 
sentative of this period and section. The story of 
his settling in Commerce township, the clearing of 
the land, the erection of the log house and barns, 
the raising of crops with primitive tools such as the 
cradle, scythe and the three cornered harrow, are 
typical of all the others. The story includes an 
account of how the early settlers lived, what they 
ate and what they w;ore, the rearing of children, the 
organization of the district schools and the church 
relations and the social activities such as sports and 
games and "bees," courtship, marriage and the like. 

After the settlers became established on their 
farms, they gave attention to fertilization of their 
soil; the use of new and improved machinery; the 
importation and breeding of the best grades of live 

In the later period Charles L. is the representative 
farmer and villager. "We are and should be inter 
ested in how any man solves his problems and 
acquits himself in his battles'' wrote F. L. Mott in 
his Rewards of Reading. He was one of the thou 
sands of farmers who, after the Civil War, trekked 
west over the western frontiers and made homes on 
the prairies. They went with little or no capital, 
with few tools and without comforts, built log and 

sod houses, cleared and cultivated large acreages. 
They were subject to conditions and circumstances 
over which, individually, they had no control. The 
enormous over-production of wheat and other grains 
from 1868 to 1873 forced prices to such low levels 
that hundreds of farmers couldn't pay their taxes 
and interest on their mortgages. The result was that 
farmers were sold out for the face of the mortgages, 
losing all their improvements and buildings. Many 
of them faced about, trekked back east as Charles L. 

Then followed the organization of farmers into 
alliances, granges and Patrons of Husbandry for 
their better protection against the predatory inter 
ests of the country. 

The sources of information for this work are: 
books, especially the collection of the Michigm 
Pioneer and Historical Society; men and women 
whose lives spanned the period of 1835 to date and 
from my personal recollections. Much information 
was obtained from Charles L. and Louisa and her 
brother Edwin Forbush before their decease; from 
the daughter of Wells Hartsough, still living, now 
in her ninety-third year; from Elisha Farmer, nearly 
ninety years of age who married Lavancha, daugh 
ter of Edwin Forbush; and Mrs. Jane Ann Power, 
daughter of Samuel Bachelor, .born and reared in 
the Bachelor neighborhood, now in her eighty-ninth 

November 26, 1929. 







SHIP 32 











INDEX 157 






THE early settlers of Michigan came largely from 
New York, New England, and Pennsylvania. The 
East was becoming overcrowded; Michigan was 
virgin territory where land could be purchased 
from the government at $1.00 an acre in 1817 and 
$1.25 an acre later. At the close of the War of 
1812, Congress set aside six million acres for home 
steads for the American soldiers who fought in that 
war with Great Britain of which two million acres 
were to be located in Michigan. The Surveyor- 
General came out from Washington to make surveys 
and locate the land for the soldiers. He and his 
staff evidently set out from Detroit, where the land 
was low and marshes abundant, and made their way 
into Oakland County, the County of lakes and 
marshes or they may have gone north into Michi 
gan from Toledo and passed over the marshy lands 
of northeastern Ohio and southeastern Michigan. 
The marshes appeared to be lakes with a heavy sod 
of marsh grass over the water. Marshes were 
springy like thin ice. When one walked over them 
one's foot would sink down and the sod would bulge 


up on all sides. The process would be repeated with 
every step. The timber and underbrush indicated 
low swampy land full of mosquitoes and ague. The 
Surveyor knew that the willows, poplars, cedars, 
and tamaracks grew in low places, so that the Sur 
veyor without penetrating far into the interior, 
reported to the authorities in Washington that: 
"Taking the country altogether, so far as has been 
explored, and to all appearances, together with infor 
mation received concerning the balance, is so bad 
there would not be more than one acre out of a 
hundred, if there should be one out of a thousand, 
that would in any case admit of cultivation." 

In the light of this report the government aban 
doned its plan of assigning two million acres of land 
for soldiers' homesteads in Michigan. The unfavor 
able condition of Michigan for settlement as indi 
cated by this report was published in the Eastern 
papers. The overcrowded East which was looking 
west for opportunities to settle and make homes for 
itself would not consider the marshy wilderness of 
Michigan for future homes. The home seekers 
settled in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois instead of in 
Michigan. There was no inducement for farmers, 
eking out a bare existence on the stony hills of New 
England, to sell out and move west to the marshlands 
of Michigan. A few adventurers, like Thomas Palmer 
and his brother, Friend, itinerant merchants from 
Canandaigua, New York, came soon after the War 
of 1812 and opened a grocery and general merchan 
dise store in Detroit; and a few trail blazers, like 
John Graham, Christopher Hartsough and John 


Hersey, settled in Oakland County, March 17, 1817 ; 
other pioneers who braved the dangers of the 
marshes, mud holes and lakes described in the Sur 
veyor's report, explored the county, found dry land, 
oak openings, hills, valleys, and wooded lands, and 
settled there and wrote to their Idnfolk and friends 
in the east urging them to come west to the "prom 
ised land". They wrote in the highest praise of 
their new country. Many of the prospectors and 
explorers went back to New York to get their fam 
ilies. They spread the news about Michigan and 
urged their friends to pull up and go west. By 1820 
there were five hundred people in Oakland County 
alone. Immigrants continued to come in large 
numbers so that this county contained five thousand 
population by 1830. 

Missionaries followed the pioneer settlers. The 
church in the East felt that the early settlers, of all 
classes of people, would need the encouragement, 
consolation and inspiration of the ministers of the 
Gospel. The Baptist Missionary Convention of New 
York, organized in 1821, sent Reverend Elkanah 
Comstock as missionary to Wayne, Oakland and 
Washtenaw counties in 1822; and Reverend Nehe- 
miah Lamb in 1824 who was accompanied by his 
two sons, Caleb and Aroswill Nehemiah returned 
to New York but settled permanently in Michigan 
in 1830. These ministers wrote home and to friends 
and at times visited the kinf oik in the east, and told 
them of this wonderful country. Caleb returned to 
New York after a month in Michigan and by word 
of mouth spread the news and said that he would 


return to Michigan to live as soon as he could save 
enough money to pay his moving expenses. One 
of his sisters married Horace Johns of Genessee 
County, New York. The Johnses moved to Michi 
gan in 1825 and were pioneer settlers near Novi, 
Oakland County; another sister, Martha, married 
Charles Severance of Washington, New Hampshire, 
in 1830; and Susan married his brother, Ezra, later. 
The girls were obsessed with the idea of making 
trails into Michigan. Their father and mother and 
two brothers had already moved their household 
goods to Michigan and made their homes there. In 
the meantime, Charles and Ezra had become dis 
contented with farming on the hills of New Hamp 
shire. They felt the general discontent among 
farmers. The urge to emigrate, take up land and to 
make homes in Michigan finally overcame the 
inertia of a century and they did move. 

Charles' great-grandfather, Daniel, had settled on 
a little farm in the valley of the Ashuelot River 
which drained the waters from a small lake where 
the little hamlet of Washington was situated and 
carried them into the Connecticut River. His father, 
Benjamin, was descended from that well-known 
ancestor John Severans of Salisbury, Massachusetts, 
who came to Boston in 1637 from Ipswich, England. 
He married Betsy Dodge of Andover, Vermont, had 
lived here to the end of his days and so did several 
uncles. There was a little colony of them. Charles 
was born here in 1805 and after him, seven brothers 
and three sisters. The Severances, like most New 
Englanders, believed in large families, especially 


large families of boys, as they helped to earn a living 
for the family. The boys worked out from the age 
of nine or ten until they were of age, 21, and gave 
all their earnings to their parents to help defray the 
expenses of the family. Boys of nine years of age 
who could drive an ox team and do chores were 
hired at $1.00 a week and board. This rate, of 
course, was increased as the boy matured, grew 
stronger and more efficient. The boys had to get 
up at sunrise and feed the oxen then came the 
.simple breakfast. Charles would yoke the oxen and 
perhaps plow some corn ground, striking his bare 
feet against the stones, which were already sore 
with "stone bruises." In haying and harvest, he 
drove the oxen and two wheeled cart which the 
farmer would pile high with hay or grain, and woe 
to the boy if his carelessness in driving over the side 
hill would cause the cart to tip over. He would have 
been scolded and might have been sent to bed with 
out his supper. After supper came the chores, care 
of the oxen, of the cows, sheep, chickens, and filling 
the wood box. Then it was dark and bedtime. 

Charles worked all summer and went to school 
three months in the winter. He enjoyed the swims in 
the summer, coasting and sledding on the ice, skiing, 
and "fox and geese" in the winter. The great event 
of the year was the "protracted meetings" in the 
winter to which everybody went. Two hour ser 
mons were usual. There was no Sunday afternoon 
problem with children. They went to church fore 
noon and afternoon. This little town of Washington 
was isolated no railroad anywhere near, no tele- 


phones, no telegraph, but the Government distrib 
uted the mail 

Charles and Ezra had now reached their majority 
and were still working out to get money for their 
own affairs, and were seriously considering their 
future. Charles said to Ezra: "I'm going to west 
ern New York or to some other country where the 
stones aren't so thick and the hills aren't so steep, 
where I can raise wheat, corn, oats and hay and not 
have to work against so many odds as I do here." 

Ezra: "Think of the good times we have here; 
the boys and girls we like so well; the fishing and 
swimming in the summer, and the winter sports." 

Charles : "There is nothing here for a young man 
who has ambition to own a farm and make a living 
on it for a family. Look at Uncle Daniel, Uncle 
Reuben, and Uncle Nathan and tell me if you think 
farming is a success. You can raise sheep on these 
hills but as the saying runs "you have to sharpen 
their noses so's they can get the grass between the 

Ezra: "What about Michigan for a location? I 
had a letter from Susan (Lamb) who said her father 
and brothers, Caleb and Aroswell, had been there. 
They said they were going back there to live." 

Charles : "That's a long way into the wilderness. 
I would like to see them and find out about Michi 
gan, but York State still has some good land, 
Ontario County has good orchards and vineyards 
around Geneva. A further inducement, Martha has 
kinfolk there." 

Information is not available for tracing the move- 


ments of the two brothers for the next five years. 
Charles married Martha Lamb in 1830, Ezra mar 
ried Susan somewhat^ later, both were daughters of 
Reverend Nehemiah Lamb and Hannah Palmer 
Lamb, whose sister, Thankful B., married Wells 
Hartsough who lived at Gorham, Ontario County, 
New York. 

Charles and Martha in 1830 located at Geneva, 
Ontario County, New York, within a few miles of 
their Uncle Wells Hartsough. Charles Lamb Sever 
ance was born here, December 14, 1833. Martha's 
father was pastor of the Hopewell Church in the 
county ten or twelve years before Charles came here 
to live. The lure of the West was too great for them 
to remain long in Geneva or for Ezra and Susan to 
spend their days in New Hampshire. Nehemiah 
had already moved to Michigan. Caleb had saved 
enough for expense of moving and settled in Michi 
gan as a missionary pastor in 1829. He drove his 
horse and light wagon to Buffalo, carrying his wife 
and two children and household furniture. He took 
passage on the schooner, Commerce, which landed 
the party safely at Detroit. Then he drove to 
Joseph Gilbert's, his father-in-law, in Bloomfield 
township, Oakland County, where the family re 
mained about a year while Caleb was visiting vari 
ous settlements holding meetings and organizing 
churches. His travels took him to Farmington, 
Novi, Northville, Plymouth, Ypsilanti, Walled Lake, 
Pontiac, St. Johns, Troy, Avon, and many other 
places. He became acquainted with the pioneers, 
knew their farms, and the lands not yet purchased 


from the government. He wrote Martha and Susan 
and Uncle Wells urging them to come on before all 
the good land had been taken. He wrote that 
Cousin Thomas Palmer was in business in Detroit, 
and brother Horace (Johns) on a good farm south 
of Wixom, "winters not so cold as they are in New 
York and New England, snow covers the ground for 
two or three months, long summers. Fanners raise 
good crops of wheat, corn, rye, oats. Why not own 
a good farm and have something to show for your 
hard work when you are old?" 


THE Erie Canal, in course of construction for 
several years, was opened for traffic in 1825 from 
Lake Erie to Schenectady, connecting the Lake with 
the Mohawk River and with New York City. By 
opening up a new method of travel toward the West, 
the canal was the greatest agency for abetting immi 
gration into Michigan and Wisconsin. Travel from 
East to West continued to be miade by stage coach 
over the Mohawk and Genessee turnpike, and by 
covered wagons and horses and oxen. The cross 
state railroads were not built until several years 
later. The stage coach made better time between 
Albany and Buffalo than the canal boats but the 
fares were higher. A majority of the emigrants 
were going into the new country to make homes and 
would need horses and oxen and wagons, tools and 
household goods which could be taken on the boats, 
or on the covered wagon which could be driven 
through. Consequently, many emigrants went over 
the Mohawk and Genessee turnpike to Buifalo where 
most of them took a steamer across Lake Erie to 
Detroit, others skirted the south side of Lake Erie 
and came into Michigan from the south. 

The emigrants were not usually pressed for time 
but hard pressed for money which they knew they 


would need for the purchase of supplies and seed 
potatoes and seed wheat and the like in their wilder 
ness homes. Consequently, they travelled the cheap 
est way, either overland in covered wagons, or on 
the canal boats of which there were two classes, the 
fast and the slow boats. The fast boats, called the 
"express boats" which were the forerunners of our 
modern lake steamers, furnished roomfe and beds 
and board for their passengers, and travelled at the 
rate of four miles an hour. The "line boats" or slow 
boats moved at the rate of three miles an hour. 
Deck space for passengers was practically all the 
line boats furnished. Passengers furnished their 
own beds and their own meals. The passengers on 
the express boats, when they passed a liner, would 
look out their cabin windows and smile, and feel 
sorry for the poor emigrants who had to ride on the 
deck exposed to the hot sun and the rain or the cold 
winds and frosty weather, much as the passengers 
in a pullman commiserate the poor folk who have 
to ride in coaches on local trains. But the emigrant 
must make his small amount of money go as far as 1 
he can. He knew the inconvenience of travel on a 
slow canal boat would leave him more money to 
lessen the deprivations and inconveniences of accom 
modations in his forest home. The "line boat" was 
a low narrow barge with only one deck. The pas 
sengers could get off at stations and get bread and 
milk and other necessary provisions. "No one 
lacked a place to sleep and no one went hungry. 
The worst of the hardships for the women was the 
lack of privacy/ 5 but women managed to keep house 


on the boat with amazing skill The slowness of 
travel was offset by the restf ulness of the water ride 
and by the variety of beautiful scenery along the 
way. Charles and Martha in 1830 left Washington, 
New Hampshire, went overland west to Albany and 
on to Schenectady. Here they took a "line boat/' 
They sat in chairs on the deck or walked about and 
usually went ashore at the port stops. On the trip 
west, they passed through the beautiful valleys of 
New York and saw many improved farms, acres of 
orchards, vineyards, dairy farms, attractive little 
towns, large wheat fields, corn fields, meadows, 
forests, and lakes. Charles and Martha left the 
boat at Lenox and went south to Geneva about ten 
miles away where her kinfolk had lived* They 
settled on a farm and there remained until 1833. 
While they were here Lewis and Charles Lamb were 
born and Martha's father and mother visited them 
before they left for their home in Michigan. Caleb, 
Martha's brother, had already settled in Michigan 
and had written back telling of the large influx of 
immigrants into Oakland County, of the beautiful 
lakes, the fruitful farms and the quality of the 
emigrants, the pious, energetic, strenuous, courage 
ous men and women who were bound to succeed. 
He wrote : "soil is productive, churches and school- 
houses are to be built, roads to be opened and 
rendered passable. In short, everything is waiting 
for strong and willing hands to make Michigan a 
great and prosperous state." In a postscript, he 
added the following from the colored barber who cut 
his hair in Buffalo: "Some people thinks they are 


fools that go to Michigan, but 'tain't so; the smart 
ones go to Michigan and the fools stay back." 

Wells and Thankful Hartsough caught the west 
ern fever, sold their little farm, packed up their 
belongings and loaded them into a covered wagon, 
left Gorham, took the Mohawk and Genessee turn 
pike to Buffalo, and then the trail around the south 
ern side of Lake Erie, through Ohio to Michigan. 
Charles and Martha decided to follow the Hart- 
sough's and build a home in Michigan. Ezra and 
Susan decided to leave the hills of New Hampshire 
and go with them to Michigan. They arrived in 
Geneva in the summer of 1835 coming by canal boat, 
the route and the conveyances used by Charles and 
Martha four years previously. 

The men made a cover for the wagon for protec 
tion from the rain and the sun. Into the ox-drawn 
wagon, they loaded their few household goods, a 
crate containing a cock and five hens, a crate of 
young pigs, some flour, pork, a shot gun, rifle and 
powder horns, and started toward Buffalo a hun 
dred miles away. The women and children rode 
most of the way, the men walked. They camped" 
by the wayside at night, usually near a farm house 
so they could get water and milk. They followed 
the Mohawk and Genessee turnpike, fording creeks, 
circling around lakes, passing over hills and through 
valleys and swamps in the beautiful lake country of 
western New York. Sometimes Martha's courage 
would wane when she looked upon her baby boys 
and thought of the hardships of pioneer life and of 
living in a log house in the wilderness inhabited by 


CH wild animals and wild Indians. Arriving in Buffalo 

^p on the fifth day, they found the steamer Michigan 

' about to sail the next day. 

^ They booked passage for themselves, the covered 

3 wagon and the oxen. They were astonished to find 

five hundred other passengers on board, most of 

them bound for Michigan to found homes as they 

were intending to do; others were going farther 

CKwest to Chicago, Wisconsin, Kansas, and some to 

L California. 

^ When the steamer Michigan backed out of port at 
CO Buffalo about four o'clock in the afternoon, the 
Severance party, tired and weary with the long 
journey over land, was seated on deck in the stern. 
The ship backed out into the lake, righted about, 
and put to sea. When towers and steeples of Buffalo 
and the forests on either side of the town appeared 
be moving away, and growing dim and finally 
were out of sight, tears came to the eyes of Martha 
Susan. They thought of homes in Washington 
^and Geneva and their friends and kinfolk whom 
'they might never see again. They all moved to 
^""chairs on the front of the deck so they might look 
^forward and speculate on their future homes. They 
had fond anticipation of the pleasure of a reunion 
of the Lambs, the Palmers and the Hartsoughs and 
the Johnes. They made plans for locating farm 
land, for clearing the trees ready for planting next 
spring, for the construction of houses and barns. 
Lewis and Charles Lamb were cross and sleepy, 
Martha looked pale and weary. She said: "I hope 
to have a good sleep tonight." The lake was smooth 


all night. When they came on deck the next morn 
ing, they were buoyant and cheerful. The children 
mingled with others of their age and went hopping 
and skipping on the deck. They made acquaint 
ance with other emigrants. Several families, all 
seeking homes in Michigan were drawn into friendly 
visiting with the Severances, among whom were 
Colonel William Phelps who had not decided where 
he would locate, Sam Beery, wife and two boys from 
Chautauqua, New York, who said he planned to take 
up land near Coldwater. 

Charles: "How do you go from Detroit?" Where 
is Coldwater?" 

Sam : "We plan to go on the stage from Detroit 
over the Chicago road, which, I understand, passes 
near my kinf oik in Coldwater. Where are you going 
to locate?" 

Charles: "In Oakland County. My father-in-law 
is there, two uncles, and two brothers-in-law are 
already there and have several desirable farms for 
us to consider." 

Joshua Bangs and wife joined the group. They, 
too, were from New York, and were headed for 
Paw Paw in Southwestern Michigan, and would go 
over the Territorial road, the Chicago turnpike 
to Paw Paw. Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan B. Graham 
from Connecticut introduced themselves. They were 
to drive the oxen and wagon with household goods 
to Hillsdale. The Severances became acquainted 
with families who were to settle in Flint, Saginaw, 
Mt Clemens, Pontiac, and other points in the state. 
While this small group was having a jolly time, 


some one suggested that they all sing the Emigrant 
Song which was familiar to most emigrants as it 
had been sung in their homes in the east. Charles 
and Ezra, Martha and Susan, were good singers. 
The quartet started it and everybody sang. Four 
stanzas follow: 

"My eastern friends who wish to find 
A country that will suit your mind, 
Where comforts all are near at hand, 
Had better come to Michigan, 

Here is the place to live at ease, 
To work or play, just as you please; 
With little prudence any man 
Can soon get rich in Michigan. 

We here have soils of various kinds 
To suit men who have different minds, 
Prairies, openings, timbered land, 
And burr oak plains, in Michigan. 

You who would wish to hunt and fish 
Can find all kinds of game you wish ; 
Our deer and turkey, they are grand, 
Our fish is good in Michigan/' 

Also, Michigan's popular New England song: 

"Come, all ye Yankee fanners who wish to change 

your lot, 
Who've spunk enough to trail beyond your native 

And leave behind the village where Pa and Ma do 


Come follow me, and settle in Michigania, 
Yea, Yea, yea, in Michigania, Detroit." 


After this song, they sang hymns such as Martin 
Luther's : 

"A mighty fortress is our God 
A bulwark never failing; 
Our helper he, amid the flood 
Of mortal ills prevailing 
For still our ancient foe 
Doth seek to work us woe 
His craft and power are great 
And armed with cruel hate, 
On earth is not his equal." 

They were fond of hymns as they were devout 
people with strong religious convictions and felt 
their dependence upon God and looked to his protec 
tion from harm and for guidance. 

In the late afternoon a strong wind blew up from 
the south and the lake showed signs of disturbances. 
The sky was overcast with rain and wind clouds. 
The ship began to roll and toss heavily. Martha 
was nervous and anxious and fearful as well as 
many other mothers on the ship. Charles and Ezra 
were stolidly built, muscular, courageous, full of life, 
and were not afraid of the turbulent sea. Lewis 
clung to his father's right leg and cried : "Take me 
daddy, me so sick in my tummy." His father took 
him and held him in his arms. Ezra helped the 
women and little Charles into the cabin. The lake 
became rougher, white caps appeared on the water 
in every direction. The steamboat was tossed about 
like a cork on the waves, now riding on the crest of 
a great billow, now down in the trough swinging to 
the right front and the left back so the passengers 


had to cling to the ship's stationary chairs, and the 
door jambs to keep them from sliding across the 
cabin and to keep those on the outside from slipping 
off the deck into the water. Strong men as well as 
weak tired women, children, and young people 
became sea-sick. When the storm ceased three 
hours later, the cabin floor and the deck were sickly, 
ill-smelling places. 

The next day about noon, little Lewis rushed to 
his mother in the cabin and in great excitement 
pointed to the forest to the left and exclaimed: 
"Michie, Michie." The whole party went on the 
forward deck. 

Martha: "Can that be Michigan?" 

Charles : "That is a shore line. That island must 
be Bois Blank, which Caleb wrote about. Isn't it 
beautiful with its grove of hardwood trees and clean 
hard shore line?" 

Ezra noticing trees on the shore to the right: 
"That must be Canada. See how the lake is narrow 
ing up. We must be entering the Detroit River." 

Susan: "What are those buildings on shore to 
the left and ahead of us?" 

Ezra: "Fort Wayne. The U. S. government main 
tains a fort here to control the Detroit River. It 
was built for protection during the French and 
Indian wars. This is the fort that General Hull 
ignominiously surrendered in 1812." 

Charles : "I have heard of those Indian wars and 
of Chief Tecumseh and Chief Pontiac in whose 
honor towns were named." 


Martha, looking ahead: "What are those queer 
looking buildings on the bank ahead of us?" 

Charles replied: "Oh! that's Detroit. Don't you 
recall that Caleb told us about those queer low 
French buildings." 

The Michigan edged up to the wharf at the foot 
of Woodward Avenue, and was made fast by the 
great ropes, then the drawbridge was let down and 
the passengers began to file out. The Severances 
waited on deck, and reviewed the motley crowd 
assembling at the wharf to see the ship come in 
and to get jobs at unloading the freight or to secure 
roomers for the hotels. 

Martha: "We must be in a foreign port. The 
houses and stores are queer, I have never seen such 
women before." 

Ezra: "Caleb said that Detroit was originally a 
French town. Those men must be Frenchmen and 

They hastened down and went ashore, each man 
carrying a boy and steadying a woman. Then the 
men looked to the oxen and covered wagon and 
baggage and freight in the hold of the ship. In the 
meantime, the women and children watched the deck 
hands unload the freight and were astonished at the 
quantity and quality of the shipment. There were 
barrels of flour, barrels of salt pork, barrels of 
sugar, bags of coffee, plows and parts of plows such 
as the colter, the steel points, and the shares, and 
chains and harness, ox yokes, oxen, cows for milk, 
pigs, chickens, horses, and every such tiling that a 
growing city and towns and pioneer settlements 


might need. The covered wagon was soon ready to 
move with its precious freight. It moved up Wood 
ward to Jefferson Avenue, then to Cousin Thomas 
Palmer's home at the corner of Fort and Shelby 

Thomas Palmer, the father of Senator Thomas W. 
Palmer, was born at Ashford, Connecticut, Febru 
ary 4, 1789. When eighteen years of age, in com 
pany with an older brother, Friend, he became an 
itinerant merchant, a common vocation in New Eng 
land at that time. They set out with a stock of gen 
eral merchandise and a span of horses, traveling 
through western Canada until they reached Maiden. 
Here they established themselves and carried on a 
successful business until the War of 1812, when 
they were made prisoners. After being held five 
weeks and being unwilling to take the oath of allegi 
ance to Great Britain, they were transported over 
the river to Monguagon. They proceeded to Detroit 
and were very soon again made prisoners. This 
time they were released on parole and returned to 
Connecticut. Again they set out with merchandise 
and made their headquarters at Canandaigua, New 
York. Thomas departed through Canada to Detroit, 
arriving on June 16, 1815. He formed a partner 
ship with his brother, Friend, to sell general mer 
chandise with eastern headquarters at Canandaigua, 
New York. Thomas was the western representative 
of the firm. They had a prosperous business and 
soon shared the partnership with their brother, 
John, under the firm of F. J. T. Palmer. A few years 
later, Thomas became a contractor and built the 


territorial capitol in Detroit on the site of the pres 
ent high school building and received in payment ten 
thousand acres of land adjacent to the town. He 
owned the village of Palmer which later was called 
St. Clair. He was considered a wealthy man in 
1835, when his cousins and their husbands visited 
him on their way to settle in the woods of Oakland 
County. His little boy, Thomas W., who in later 
years became a national figure was of the same age, 
four years, as Martha's Lewis, but the children did 
not get acquainted in so short a time as a day and 
a night. Thomas urged Charles and Ezra to go next 
day to the Land Office in Detroit and find the loca 
tion of acreages not yet sold and added: "The tide 
of immigration has set in. Hundreds of home 
seekers and land speculators are being landed from 
the steamers every day and hundreds more are com 
ing over land through Ohio into southern and west 
ern Michigan." Detroit, itself, in the words of 
Hamlin Garland : "Was at first a sadly disappoint 
ing small and shabby village but a closer study 
developed the flavor of its frontier character. Red 
men, trappers, lumbermen, fishermen, fur mer 
chants and soldiers mingled on easy terms in its 
muddy streets, while confident pigs and grazing 
cows gave evidence of comfort as well as of a good 
natural rural tolerance of nuisances on the part of 
its citizens." 


There were three main highways leading out of 
Detroit to the various points in Michigan. The 
Chicago turnpike was a territorial road starting at 
Detroit, passing through the "dismal swamp" before 
reaching Dearborn and passing on through Ypsi- 
lanti, Saline, Hillsdale, Coldwater, and ending in 
Chicago. A stage line had been established over 
this route and stage coaches were making regular 
trips in 1835. Harriet Martineau described a stage 
coach ride in her Society of America. Immigrants 
planning to settle in southern Michigan would in 
variably take either the stage coach or drive their 
oxen and covered wagons along this turnpike across 
the River Rouge and get stuck in the mud and water 
of the "dismal swamp." The River Rouge which 
carried the water off in time had so slight a gradient 
that one could not tell in which direction the water 
was running without throwing a chip or a stick 
into the stream to see in which direction it floated. 

The Detroit and Pontiac road directed the immi 
grants toward Flint and Saginaw, also to Mount 
Clemens. They would cross the Clinton River at 
Pontiac, then penetrate the wilderness to the west, 
north and east. This highway had been improved 
for five or six miles out of Detroit by a corduroy 



construction of logs laid close together side by side 
across the wagon track and covered with dirt. The 
mud beyond the corduroy was so deep and sticky 
that a team of oxen could scarcely manage an empty 
wagon. Mr. Palm;er told his guests the following 
story which although absurd, frightened the women 
and lessened the courage of the men. He said: 
"Several strangers looking for land started out on 
this Pontiac road and were winding their way over 
bogs and around stumps, sometimes on this side of 
the road, sometimes on that, and in constant danger 
of being swallowed up in the mire. One of these 
men, a little in advance of the rest of them discov 
ered as he thought a good beaver hat, lying on the 
center of the road. He called to his companions to 
halt while he ventured to secure it at the risk of 
his life. He waded out, more than knee deep to the 
spot, and seizing the hat to his surprise he found 
a live man's head under it, but on lustily raising a 
cry for help, the stranger in the mire declined all 
assistance saying, "Just leave me alone, I have a 
good horse under me, and have just found bottom, 
go on, gentlemen, and mind your own business." 

The third highway was the Grand River road 
passing through swamps, over rivers, through Red- 
ford to Farmington and to Novi, a wagon road 
part of the way, a mere trail the remainder of the 
way. In later years, this was known as the Grand 
River turnpike from Detroit to Lansing, the capital 
of the state. This highway led the immigrants into 
the very heart of the state. Like the other roads 
radiating from Detroit, it was corduroy for several 


miles. The party got an early start, made good 
time about three miles an hour until they left the 
improved road. Then trouble began. The nigh ox 
mired in the mud and went down. The wagon 
stuck; the water was a foot deep caused by recent 
rain. Martha and Susan got out of the wagon, 
stepped into the water and with fearful hearts, 
made their way to higher ground with the help of 
the men. Then the children were carried forward, 
followed by the crate of hens, and pigs, and baggage 
until the wagon was empty. The oxen renewed 
their courage and their strength and brought for 
ward the empty wagon* Caleb had a similar experi 
ence. His one horse and light wagon stuck here 
when he moved to Farmington a few years earlier. 
The horse did well to make the slough and draw a 
light wagon through it. The Surveyor had not 
exaggerated the condition of the terrible morasses 
around Detroit. It was late at night when the oxen 
pulled up to the door of Caleb's log house where the 
light from the tallow dips welcomed them. They 
all were muddy and wet and tired; the children 
were cross. Words cannot express their gratitude 
and happiness with the warmth of the house and the 
joyous welcome of the Lambs. It was a glad re 
union and homecoming after several years' separa 
tion. Charles, Martha, Ezra, and Susan recounted 
the hardships of the journey and the pleasures of 
the trip and conveyed greetings from the friends 
and Mnfolk of New Hampshire and of Geneva. 
They visited till late at night, then followed a read- 


ing of a selection from the Bible and the evening 
prayer by Caleb and the singing of, 

"Guide me, thou great Jehovah, 
Pilgrim through this barren land ; 

I am weak, but thou art mighty, 
Hold me by thy powerful hand ; 

Bread of Heaven, 
Feed me till I want no more." 


"0 God ! our help in ages past, 
Our hope for years to come, 
Our shelter from the stormy blast, 
And our eternal home." 

TJie early settlers, particularly those from New 
England, felt their dependence upon their heavenly 
Father. It was He who kept them from harm when 
the storms raged over Lake Erie and buoyed them 
up on their sea of troubles. The Hartsoughs had 
arrived in their "schooner" a month earlier and set 
tled at Bedford. The Severances and Hartsoughs 
were heartily welcomed into the homes of the mem 
bers of the Baptist Church of which Caleb Lamb 
and his father, Nehemiah, have been pastors. It 
was like a great homecoming. The ties of kinf oik, 
especially in a new settlement in the woods, are vi 
brant and strong. They all desired to settle in 
Farmington but acreage in this vicinity had all been 

Caleb told them: "There are few government 
holdings in this vicinity still available. Immigra 
tion is reaching its flood tide. Thousands enter 
Detroit daily from the steamers and many more 


are coming in as Uncle Wells did, over the trails 
around the southern shore of lake Erie, and over 
the roads through Canada and across the river at 
Detroit. There are hundreds of land speculators 
arriving every day. Beware of them. I know the 
location of acreages in the townships of Farmington, 
Commerce, Novi, and other lands near Northville 
and Plymouth." 

The next morning Caleb, Charles, Wells, and Ezra 
started northwest on a tramp to visit new settlers 
and to locate farms. They followed the trail run 
ning due west which later divided the township of 
Farmington from West Bloomfield, and stopped be 
fore a log house on top of a large hill. Theron 
Murray called to them. Caleb replied : "I am Caleb 
Lamb from Farmington. These men are Charles 
and Ezra Severance and Wells Hartsough from New 
York. We want to locate three one hundred-sixty- 
acre farms. Can you tell us where there are some 
good acreages?" Theron: "Why yes, I settled on 
this hill three years ago and have a good farm. The 
farms west on this road are taken but I think there 
is a quarter section over north on the Commerce 
road." Caleb: "Anything around Walled Lake or 
Novi?" Theron: "I don't know." A mile farther 
on they came upon another clearing with a good 
house and a field of corn which the farmer was cut 
ting. Caleb called: "Hello, there." "Hello" came 
back with a joyous ring. "Who are you?" The 
men were introduced in pioneer fashion. Emmett 
Green said he came from Rhode Island in 1832, had 
located this half section of timberland with rich clay 


soil. "I am entirely satisfied" he said. 'This 
will be a great farm in a few years. Michigan 
will be a great state." He indicated the land 
north on the Commerce road and one on the 
Walled Lake road. The men were pleased with the 
corn crop and the appearance of the soil under cul 
tivation. They explored the farm indicated. "This 
is a quarter section of oak openings. It wouldn't 
be difficult to get an early crop," said Charles. "I 
don't care for the large tamarack marsh," said Ezra. 
Caleb observed that a house could be erected on the 
rise of ground near the creek and that it could be 
easily constructed of those fine, tall tamarack trees. 
Wells said there was upland enough for any family. 
"Look at those fine oaks, maples and hickories." 

They next stopped at John Welfare's on the way 
to the lake. He had a family of four boys. After 
a short visit, the trampers moved on, ascended the 
next hill and looked beyond. "By golly" exclaimed 
Charles, "if there ain't water." They hurried down 
the hill and stood on the shore of a beautiful lake. 
"It is larger and pettier than our lake in Washing 
ton, New Hampshire." "About a mile across and 
five miles around is my guess," said Caleb. The 
October sun was shining warm and bright with an 
occasional fleecy cloud floating below it. As the 
men looked upon the water, the color changed as 
the clouds cast fleeting shadows on the water. It 
was a light green then a dark geen and then a dark 
blue. The trees were mirrored on the glassy sur 
face of the water. "What a restful scene," observed 
Uncle Wells. "Do you see the canoes on the lake 


manned by Indians?" asked Caleb. "Are they 
wild and dangerous and are they around this lake 
all the year?" asked Charles. Caleb: "They are 
friendly, neighborly and will do the whites no harm 
while they are sober. There is a trading post about 
a half mile to the west of us kept by Prentice and 
King where the Indians may trade furs, venison 
and fish for trinkets, pork, flour, potatoes, and the 
like. The Indians have a garden farther around 
where they raise potatoes, beans and squash, and 
they have set out an orchard. I preached at the 
village two years ago. Only a few of the Indians 
stay the year round. They go into winter quarters 
near Niles, way west of here." "How far is it to 
my farm from here?" asked Charles. Having spent 
his boyhood on a lakeshore, this beautiful sheet of 
water was making a strong appeal to him. "Two 
and a half miles," replied Caleb. "Let's move on 
or we won't reach Uncle Horace Johns's place to 
night. Uncle Horace also had migrated from New 
York, bringing all his effects from Genessee County 
ten years before, 1825, and was already a pros 
perous farmer with a good acreage and good build 
ings not far west of Novi. They arrived at a clear 
ing as the sun was sinking into the great forest in 
the west. They saw a large portly man with a milk 
pail on his arm walking erect with two small boys 
at his heels. Caleb called to him, "Hello! Uncle 
Horace!" He turned facing the men, then ex 
claimed: "Well!! Well!! Brother Wells; and Caleb, 
how are you and these nephews I haven't seen be 
fore? Come on in the house. Content will want to 


see you. Caleb told me last summer that you all 
were coming. When did you arrive? (Turning to 
Wells) How are Thankful and the children?" Con 
tent came in and was overjoyed to see her kinfolk. 
Life in the woods where the housewife can see no 
one for weeks at a time becomes unendurable. 
Long days with hard work and with no one but the 
children and husband to talk with become dreary. 
Ezra told of his home in Washington, New Hamp 
shire and his trip to Geneva, New York, Charles 
described his trip over the Erie Canal and of the 
schooner from Geneva to Buffalo and the boat trip 
across Lake Erie. Wells told how he travelled to 
Buffalo and Detroit bringing all his belongings in 
a covered wagon from Gorham, New York and how 
they managed to cross the "dismal swamp" on the 
state road running from Detroit through Farming- 
ton. "Now," he said, "we all are here in this country 
of beautiful lakes and rivers and forests to make 
homes for ourselves." It was long after midnight 
when Uncle Horace drew in the latch string and put 
on the night log and banked the fire. 

They were up with the sun and out to see the 
fine draft horses, the good cows and calves and hogs 
and chickens, also the new frame barn and the 
orchard back of it which had been stripped of its 
baldwins, northern spies, and greenings. Off to the 
right was a forty-acre field of winter wheat cover 
ing the ground with its deep green blades. To the 
left, was the corn already cut and shocked, 
which was pleasing to the eyes of these new 
farmers. Uncle Horace pointed out a tract of a 


hundred and sixty acres near Northville which he 
said lies well for drainage. The soil is heavy and 
rich like the soil of this farm. 

The land office in Detroit was a busy place. 
Every day hundreds of immigrants disembarked 
from the ships at the foot of Woodward Avenue and 
other hundreds came overland through northern 
Ohio to find homes in Michigan. Land agents were 
never so busy. They had explored the lands 
throughout southern Michigan and knew where the 
best farming and timberlands were to be found. 
They had purchased large tracts to sell again at a 
higher price than $1.25 an acre which had to be 
paid to the United States Government 

When Charles, Ezra, and Wells the next day 
went to the land office in Detroit to buy their farms, 
they were accosted several times by agents of the 
several land companies who had land for sale any 
where in southern Michigan and wanted to show 
their good farms. The agents frequented the hotels 
in Detroit and in the villages where immigrants 
were sure to come. There was a mania for land 
speculation. A speculator coming into the state, of 
whatever calling or profession, explored the coun 
try, then went straight to one of the land offices and 
took up as many i acres in a desired location as his 
means would permit and immediately put a price 
upon the land from two times to thirty or forty 
times the original cost. If he were fortunate to 
secure a tract on one of the territorial roads, espe 
cially the Chicago road or the Detroit and Grand 
River road, or near the crossing of a river or ad- 


jacent to a possible water power, he at once called 
a surveyor and plotted a town with elegant streets, 
broad public squares, reservations for churches, 
courthouses, schools, and colleges. Charles had de 
cided on the half section near Walled Lake. Ezra 
bought the farm near Northville and Wells settled 
at the "Sand hill" later called Redford but within a 
few years he purchased a tract near Ezra's which 
had rich soil and raised bumper crops. 

They remained with the Lambs in Farmington un 
til Ezra's house, near Northville, about five miles 
away was ready for occupancy. The men soon cleared 
a half acre and made the logs ready for the house. 
With the help of Uncle Wells and the neighbors, liv 
ing within a radius of five or six miles, the boys 
raised the log house and roofed it within a month. 
Then followed a clearing and the erection of a barn 
for the oxen, chickens and pigs. Early in November 
(1835) the two families were settled in the new house 
for the winter which was a severely cold winter with 
an unusually heavy snow fall. The settlers were 
literally "snow bound" for several weeks, the snow 
remaining on the ground well into March. In the 
new home, Martha enjoyed more quiet and rest than 
she had experienced since she left Geneva. This 
quiet moderate life was good for her nerves. She 
stood the journey from New York with its various 
hardships remarkably well for one who was not 
vigorous, nor sturdy and who had the responsibility 
and care of two sturdy little boys. Her third boy 
was presented to the family December 15 and given 
the name, Thomas Chalkley. Susan was younger 


and vivacious, with fewer responsibilities and fewer 
occasions for worry. Her work was strenuous, as 
the responsibility of the home fell upon her shoul 
ders during Martha's illness and she was looking 
forward fearfully and courageously toward mother 
hood in the spring. 

The woodman's ax could have been heard in the 
clearing back of the barn from early morning until 
late at night. The men cleared off a lot for the early 
planting of potatoes in the spring. They were 
strong and hardy, and stout and full of energy. The 
days were too short for the work they wanted to do. 
They became expert with their axes. 


The brothers worked early and late during the 
winter and early spring of 1836 in clearing up four 
or five acres so that Ezra might plant some early 
potatoes and corn, as corn meal, potatoes, pork or 
wild game were their principal food. Sufficient must 
be raised to carry the family through the next win 
ter as wheat could not be sowed until August or 
September to be reaped the following spring. They 
then gave attention to Charles' farm twelve miles 
away. It was necessary to provide a house for shel 
ter and a clearing where he too might raise sufficient 
food for his growing family. Charles* hundred and 
eighty acres lay part in West Bloomfield and part 
in Commerce township. The north and south trail 
on the town line therefore, intersected his farm 
which extended west into Commerce about a mile. 
The north side of that portion of the farm in Com 
merce township embraced a large acreage of marsh, 
part of which was covered with grass, the rest was 
thickly studded with tall cedar and tamarack trees. 
The trees grew straight up thirty, forty, or fifty 
feet, straight as a mast, with small trunks six inches 
to eight inches in thickness with small branches at 
the tops. There was so much rosin in the wood 
that it burned green like dry pine and made a hot 



fire. The south side of the farm and the east 
end located in West Bloomfield was heavily timbered 
with hard wood trees, red and white oak, hard and 
soft maple, shagbark hickory, walnut, butternut, and 
the soft woods, such as the basswood, willows and 
the chestnut. The farm had a variety of soil from 
the heavy clay on the east to the light clay and sandy 
soil on the west, with muck on the north spreading 
out to the timbered marsh. They chose a site for 
the house and barn, a rise of ground facing the 
trail on the east, about the center of the farm north 
and south, an oak opening on light soil; conse 
quently, well drained with a creek near by and a 
spring not far away. The timber was light with 
considerable underbrush. The clearing was made. 
Logs twenty-two feet long for the sides of the house 
and eighteen feet long for the ends were cut in the 
marsh and drawn to the site of the house. Trunks 
of red oak trees were cut into six feet logs and split 
into thin flat pieces for the roof and called "shakes". 
A lot of wooden pegs of different sizes were made 
by splitting six inch lengths of red oak logs into 

Then came the house raising party. Charles 
visited the neighbors on the north and east. Ezra 
visited those south and southeast and invited them 
to assist in raising the house. 'Til be there" was 
the cheerful response. 

The neighbors came early on "raising day." They 
were never too busy to lend a hand on such occa 
sions. Eldad Smith, Seymour Devereaux, and Eze- 
kiel Dye came from the north; Harvey Dodge and 


John Coe came from the east; Theron Murray, Solo 
mon Stilson, and Addis Emmet Greene from the 
southeast on the Farmington trail. Mr. Greene was 
chosen boss because he knew how and had bossed 
previous jobs. The corner men were Dye and Dev- 
ereaux; Coe and Stilson, who trimmed the ends of 
the logs and made good joints. The others rolled 
the logs and lifted them into place which was easy 
for the first half dozen courses. Skids were pro 
vided for the courses higher up. When the log was 
pushed up as high as the men could reach, they took 
pikes made of crotched poles and rolled the logs into 
place. They finished before sunset. Martha and 
Susan furnished hot coffee, hot bread and meat. It 
was the custom for the owner to furnish a jug 
of whisky for such an occasion, but Charles's neigh 
bors did not quit the job because the whisky was 
lacking. There was a wave of a national temper 
ance movement sweeping over Michigan at this 
time. The W. C. T. U. was campaigning in the in 
terests of the white ribbon movement. Men, women 
and children were being asked to "sign the pledge." 
Many of the early settlers were teetotallers. The 
men worked hard at "logging bees" and "house rais 
ings" and enjoyed the chaff and banter and stories 
and jokes and songs. Charles and Ezra put on the 
ridge and rafters, next day and the "shakes" which 
covered the roof. There were three rows of shakes, 
six feet long overlapping ends and fastened down 
with a long sapling laid lengthwise of the building 
across each layer of "shakes". The ends of the sap 
lings were made fast by pegs or withes* The 


cracks between the logs were filled in with split 
pieces of wood called clinkers and fastened in with 
clay which had been wet and worked until it became 
stiff mud. The split basswood logs laid crosswise 
of the room and fastened down with wooden pegs 
constituted the floor which was smoothed by use of 
the adz. The attic floor was also made of basswood. 

The house was twenty-two feet long by eighteen 
feet wide with the side paralled with the road or 
trail. There was a door and a window in either 
side, that is, one in the front and one in the rear 
of the house. The door had wooden hinges, a 
wooden latch on the inside which was raised from 
the outside by a latch string or strap which was 
pushed out through the hole and hung down on the 
outside. To lock the house, they pulled the latch 
string inside. The window panes were fastened in 
with wooden pegs. 

The fireplace was the center of family life. 
The fire cooked the food, warmed the room, and 
furnished light in the evening. It was a great com 
fort and a great pleasure to sit by the open fireplace 
and watch the logs burn and to toast the apples and 
to roast the spare ribs by the open fire. The early 
settlers had "wood to burn", so they constructed 
their fireplace large enough to take in great logs 
which had to be rolled over the floor with a cant 
hook. Charles built a fireplace six feet wide by four 
feet deep with a chimney that was two by four feet 
at the top. Into the log back of the fireplace, he 
drove two iron eyes on which to hang a crane which 
extended about a foot into the room. The floor and 


back of the fireplace were made of clear clay a foot 
thick at the bottom but thinner when it reached 
the sticks on the back. The chimney was built of 
sticks and clay in much the same way that brick 
and mortar are used today. The sticks were cut 
the right length for the sides and back and front 
of the chimney, laid up in clay, and plastered on 
the inside with clay, so the sticks would not catch 
fire. Before a fire was started, a back log five feet 
long and possibly twenty inches thick was rolled 
into the back of the fireplace. Then two green 
sticks, six or eight inches in diameter and three feet 
long, with ends against the back log were the and 
irons. Then a fore stick was laid on the front ends 
of the andirons, and a fire was laid between the 
back log and the fore stick, which furnished cheer 
and comfort and light and heat for at least twenty- 
four hours. 

During the next few busy days, the men made a 
barn for the oxen and a stockade enclosure so the 
bears and wolves could not reach them. They made 
also some tables and chairs and bedsteads. The 
bedsteads were made by boring holes into the floor 
and driving crotched sticks into the holes, then by 
laying poles in the crotches and sticks across the 
poles and covering the whole with elm bark. 
Blankets and feather ticks softened to some extent 
the rough spots. 

At the end of the week, the oxen and wagon came 
over from Northville bringing Martha, the new 
baby, Thomas, Charles L. and Lewis and the 
household goods, the bedding, cooking utensils, the 


spinning wheel, the small loom the chickens, and 
the hogs* Then Martha settled in her new home. 
In the north end was the fireplace, and on the mantel 
above was the old clock. Charles set the crane with 
various sized pot hooks in the fireplace. The bake 
kettle and pots and tin pans, tea kettle, frying pans 
had a place to the right of the fireplace. The bake 
kettle was a flat low kettle with a cast iron cover, 
the top of which turned up an inch or two to hold 
the coals. To bake bread, cover with the hot iron 
cover, set the kettle on the hot coals, and put a 
shovelful of coals on top the lid and let it cook. To 
the left of the fireplace were shelves against the 
walls for dishes and for potatoes, meat, flour, milk 
pans, tin cups, dippers, and the pail of water for 
cooking. Near the center of the room was the 
dining room table and in the south end of the room 
were the beds on one side, the spinning wheel and 
the loom for weaving the cloth on the other. In 
the southeast corner, was the ladder by which the 
children could climb to the beds in the attic which 
were spread on the floor. Other conveniences were 
added as the needs arose. Outside the house beside 
the back door stood a wash stand with a pail of 
water on it brought from the creek about forty rods 
north of the house, and a towel hanging to a wooden 
peg driven into a log three feet from the ground. 

In the early morning the crows discovered the 
new house. They sailed over and around and 
glided up and down and looked the house and barns 
over and cawed and cawed notifying their kindred 
far and near that here was another settlement and 


that there might be more corn to dig up. The 
hawks sailed high but kept sharp eyes on the clear 
ing in search of young chickens. A saucy little 
chipmunk climbed to the top of a paling of the 
stockade and fretted and scolded. A big gray squir 
rel got a vantage place in the branches of a nearby 
oak and made a terrible fuss. The robins were 
more sociable, ran along the ground, came near the 
back door and greeted Charles as he came. He 
called to Martha and the children to step outside 
and see the wild life all about them which was 
giving them a morning welcome. After dark they 
could hear bruin who came under darkness to make 
his visit and his exploration, but he didn't find any 
choice little pigs nor did Mr. Fox find any hens. 
The hoot of the owl and the song of the whip-poor- 
will and the baying of Eldad Smith's hound broke 
the stillness of the night. 

The snow had gone. Spring was near at hand. 
Charles was up before the sun, had milked the cow, 
fed the oxen, and felled several trees before break 
fast. He cleared a few acres south of the house 
first so that the midday sun could shine on the roof* 
Martha told him they must have sun to keep the 
house floors dry and to warm the south side where 
the children might play. He piled the brush to the 
east and to the west of the clearing and felled the 
trees toward the brush so that by use of a cant 
hook and the oxen he could roll the logs into the 
brush and make a temporary fence. He plowed 
among trees in the oak opening south of the house 
but it was impossible to plow among the stumps 


in the thicker timber until the fire had burned over 
the clearing. He chopped into the soil and roots of 
these hardwood stumps with his ax so that he could 
plant some early corn. The soil he plowed was 
leveled up with the crotched log iron-toothed drag 
which was drawn back and forth over the plowed 
surface and weighted down with a large stone or 
stump tied to the top. He planted part to potatoes, 
part he sowed to oats and later plowing he planted 
to corn when the red oak buds got to be the size of 
a squirrel's ear. 

Martha had carefully tucked away some beet seed 
and peas and beans when she left New York. She 
surprised Charles by bringing them out for plant 
ing. She had not forgotten the morning glory, nas 
turtium, sweet william which she planted later in 
her flower garden near the house. The morning 
glories were trained to climb up around the back 
door and window and up the south end to cover the 
logs and add beauty and charm to the setting of this 
log house hidden away in the forest 


Easter Sunday was a balmy day, a gentle breeze 
came in from the west after a warm April shower. 
The fleecy clouds were hurrying away to the east; 
the blue dome of the sky could be seen above them. 
The wild birds were singing their happy songs in 
the woods. The frogs in the marsh were croaking 
their loudest. The tree toads, which made so much 
noise before the shower, were quiet. A beautiful 
Easter day made glad the hearts of the pioneers 
and the wild birds and the wild animals. Martha, 
the children, and Charles felt the effects of the day. 
Martha said : "Let's go to church today/' 

Martha was the daughter of a minister, was de 
voted to the church and found her greatest pleasure 
in church work. She felt the presence of God in her 
every day life, was grateful to Him for His guidance 
and care on their trip to this new country and in 
the selection of the present farm home. She was 
grateful for her boys and felt the responsibility for 
training them in right living and in the development 
and care of their bodies. She found great comfort 
and consolation in prayer. The boys said their 
prayers to her every night before they ascended the 
ladder to the attic. 



Since settling so far from church, she had 
been denied the privilege of church attendance on 
account of those sticky clay roads leading to the 
church at West Farmington and on account of bad 
weather in early spring. Tom was only a few 
months old. She was afraid to take him so far 
away in bad weather. She had longed for the op 
portunity to go to church again. Here was the day, 
this Easter Day, when Charles yoked the oxen and 
went to church with his family. Charles, too, 
wanted to go. The work of chopping and clearing 
was new to him. He couldn't stand seven days a 
week of it. Both of them were hungry for some 
one to talk with. Shut up on the little clearing 
where neighbors were far away and no one but 
themselves and the children to talk with, living be 
came monotonous, they became restless and uneasy. 
They started to church this Easter Day with cares 
and responsibilities weighing heavily upon them; 
they returned at the close of the day with a fresh 
ness and a happiness which they had not experi 
enced for weeks. 

Elder Lamb (Caleb) was a pioneer missionary 
preacher who had experienced all the hardships that 
many of them had suffered and had enjoyed as many 
blessings as any of his church members. He 
preached with a sympathetic heart. Caleb was a 
favorite brother of Martha in whose preaching and 
personality and home life she took great delight. 
Church meeting on this Easter was like a reunion. 
Martha and Susan and Aunt Thankful had so much 
to talk about, so much had happened since they had 


landed at Caleb's last October. Tom had come into 
Martha's home, Horace into Susan's, and Sarah into 
Aunt Thankful's home. The coming of children 
into the homes of pioneers when doctors were few 
and far away caused much suffering and great 
anxiety, but here were a healthy lot of babies and 
youngsters. The outdoor life was conducive to 

Wells Hartsough was already dissatisfied with 
his Sand Hill farm. He could work the soil as soon as 
a rain was over, but discovered it had no depth and 
he probably could not produce good crops. He sold 
it largely on account of its location, near Detroit, 
and took up acreage from the government near Ply 

Ezra was as far along as Charles with his 
spring sowing and planting. Prospects were good 
for crops. Potatoes and corn were necessities for the 
family sustenance and for the livestock the next fall 
and winter. 

Martha (on the way home) : "Did Caleb tell his 
new plans about Hahnemann?" 

Charles: "No. Is he a new comer, too? Is he to 
settle in our neighborhood? Sounds like a German 

Martha: "Oh, no, Charles, he was a German 
doctor and was never in America. He instituted a 
new system of medicine which is producing wonder 
ful results. His slogan is 'Like cures like'." 

Charles: "What does that mean?" 

Martha: "Caleb said the theory is that if the 
poison, Belladonna would produce a headache, it 


would cure a headache when started. Aconite would 
produce fever when taken in moderate doses, conse 
quently, when a child has fever, give him aconite to 
stop it. Seems a very simple medical principle." 
Charles: "What has Caleb to do with it?" 
Martha: "He plans to give up preaching, move 
to Detroit, and study this system of medicine which 
he said is called by some the 'Hahnemann System', 
by others the 'Homoeopathic System of Medicine/ 
Instead of large doses of nasty medicine given by 
the regular or allopathic physicians the homoe 
opathic doctor gives sugar coated pills, small doses 
in liquid form and in powdered form." 

Charles : "It will be fine to have a doctor in the 


When Martha got the children ready for bed and 
heard their prayers, Lewis, with eyes wide open, 
spoke up : "Ma, I want to see the injuns." 'Lonzo 
said, "Their fierce, painted faces, feathers on the 
caps and great bos' an' arrows in their hands are 
great. Lot of 'em at the Lake. Ma, why don't we 
go to church at the Lake so we can see the injuns?" 

Martha : "Skip up to bed, take Charles with you, 
I will talk to your pa about it." 

The next morning Lewis came down the ladder 
early. As soon as his father came into breakfast, 
he began jumping up and down and begging. "Pa, 
I want to see the injuns." Little Charles L. piped 
up : "Me want to see injuns, Pa." 


Martha: "Daddy we better take a day off to see 
the Indians at Walled Lake village. John Welfare 
told me that most of them have gone west on account 
of a Treaty with the government. This may be 
their last summer." 

In August, when the corn was laid by, Charles 
yoked the oxen to the wagon, took the family and 
the Welfares and went to town. They stopped 
within a few rods of the Indians' summer camp, the 
little settlement of tepees. "Who is the big Indian 
sitting in front of the tent? He has feathers in his 
cap, rings in his ears, mocassins on his feet, reddish 
paint on his face, smoking a pipe," asked George. 
"I bet that's the chief," said Lewis. "See the ponies 
off to the right. My, I would like to ride one," said 
John. "0 shucks! they're too wild for you, they 
would throw you in a jiffy," replied Lewis. Martha 
noticed the garden with sweet corn in the ear and 
the apple orchard beyond. John who had something 
of a drawl in his speech, always spoke slowly and 
you would think he was weighing every word, told 
the story of Prentice and King who kept the trading 
post where the Indians exchanged their furs, ber 
ries, venison, deer skins, and the like, for pork, 
flour and trinkets. They were young men from 
Maine and in a sense fugitives from justice. Pren 
tice fell in love with one of Maine's fair maidens, 
so did a rival. Jealousy and rivalry in love is a 
very serious matter. Rrentice was devoted to 
Susan. His rival was equally devoted to Susan. 
Susan could not dismiss either. The truth is she 
loved them both but only one could have her, and 


which one, that was to be settled by a duel. They 
met early Saturday in a field a mile out of town. 
King was Prentice's second. When the smoke 
cleared away, Prentice's rival was dead and he, 
himself, was severely wounded. He and King had 
to leave the state. Prentice being jilted by the girl 
he loved became disgusted and started for the west 
with King. Here they were in a trading post at 
Walled Lake. 

They were not unconscious of the beauties of the 
Indian maidens. The squaw of Chief Sheskone 
often came to the store with her daughters, Wild 
Flower and Dawn, who were of marriageable age. 
Dawn was rightly named. She stood erect, head 
up, her black hair pushed straight back and fastened 
to a chip on the back of her head. The red paint 
on her cheeks gave her a ruddy appearance which 
harmonized with her black hair. Her black eyes 
sparkled with life, they were bewitching. Add to 
this the silver earrings and the necklace, the mocas 
sins, trimmed with porcupine quills, the buckskin 
leggings, with fuzzy frills at the bottom and fastened 
with a garter below the knee, the broadcloth skirt 
suspended from the hips and extending below the 
knees and over her shoulders her own red blanket. 
Wild Flower was equally attractive. Their charm 
was not so much in their dress as in their carriage, 
light and fleet of foot, alert, wary, independent. 
Besides, these Indians were nearly civilized. They 
were human, they fished and hunted with the Amer 
icans. The love flames which were extinguished in 
the hearts of Prentice and King broke out again. 


They consulted Chief Sheskone, and, not knowing 
this tribe, offered to buy Dawn and Wild Flower 
for their wives. No, not for sale. A week or two 
later, Dawn and Wild Flower entered the trading 
post carrying food for Prentice and King, the Indian 
method of announcing their engagement. Then 
followed, in accordance with Indian custom, the 
presents to the would be mother-in-law and then 
the gifts of the Chief and his Squaw to Prentice and 
King, their sons-in-law. 

According to treaty agreements, this tribe, the 
Pottawottomies vacated their hunting ground in 
Michigan in 1833 and took up land west of the 
Mississippi. Prentice and King became a part of 
the tribe and went with it. 

They were transferred first to Northwest Mis 
souri, opposite Fort Leavenworth, then to Iowa near 
Council Bluffs and thirty years later to Indian ter 

On the road home, after they left the Welfares at 
their home, they saw approaching them, a tall man 
on horseback. He had a tall crowned hat which 
emphasized the height of the rider who was trying 
to read as his tired bay mare slowly made her way. 
When he came alongside, his horse and the oxen 
stopped. "Hello, stranger," said he, "You must be 
new in these parts." "We are," replied Charles, 
"We live in the first house, north on the Commerce 
road. My name is Charles Severance. Do you live 
hereabout?" Stranger: "Yes, at the Lake. My 
name is Tenny. I carry the mail from Farmington 
to the Lake, the Overland Mail. I haven't much 


mail today, (bending forward and removing the 
big hat dropping the crown down first so that 
the letters would not fall out) . I used to carry the 
mail in my pockets but our town is getting larger, 
consequently, more letters are received and a news 
paper or two. Here is a copy of the Detroit Free 
Press for Jesse Turtle." 

Charles : "The Welfare family and we have been 
to the Lake so the children could see the Indians. 
John told us the story of Prentice and King marry 
ing Dawn and Wild Flower." 

Tenny : "Mighty fine Indians. They are what is 
left of the Pottawottomie tribe which at one time 
occupied northern, eastern, and southern Michigan. 
They belong to the Algonquin tribe and are kin to 
the Ottawas whose famous chief was Pontiac who is 
said to have had a summer camp on a beautiful 
island in Orchard Lake about six miles from here. 
The Pottawottomies joined Pontiac in his war 
against the English and were defeated. Topanibee, 
a chief of the Pottawottomies for forty years, joined 
Tecumseh, the Shawnee chief when he waged war 
against General Harrison and was defeated at Tip- 
pecano. After every defeat the United States ex 
acts more land from them until finally they will all 
disappear from this beautiful country which they 
have enjoyed so many years. Whisky is their worst 
enemy. I am a deacon in the Baptist Church, or 
ganized only three years ago. Be glad to see you 
at church. Good-by." 



The "Logging bee" came in July. Charles had 
cleared about five acres for the wheat crop. Eldad 
Smith and Solomon Stilson came with their ox teams 
and chains and cant hooks and helped remove the 
logs and brush and put them into cords and piles 
to be burned when the brush and logs should dry out. 
Then the three ox teams were hitched to the great 
bull-plow which would cut off roots three or four 
inches thick and overturn small stumps without stop 
ping the oxen and without breaking the plow. The 
plow had a sharp edged steel colter and a share of 
iron or steel and mould board of wood. Then came 
the dragging with the heavy spiked crotched harrow 
and the chopping off and pulling out of roots which 
had been broken by the plow, and the rooting out of 
stumps which had been overturned. Lewis tugged 
away on the smaller roots and carried them to piles 
for burning and helped to pile the brush when trees 
were felled, but the job for Lewis and Charles L. 
was to watch the cow and keep her close to the 

About the first of September, Charles harrowed 
the wheat ground again and sowed his wheat. He 
tied the corner of the end of the grain bag to the 
edge of the mouth of the sack, put it over his head 
so the bag swung under his left arm. With his right 
hand he reached into the bag and drew out a hand 
ful of the precious yellow seed and began throw 
ing it evenly over the ground as he walked across 
the plowed field on the east side, then he took three 


paces to the west, made a mark so he would know 
where to start back, then three paces farther west. 
Here he pushed a pole into the ground indicating 
the goal for his return. Then returning to his mark, 
he raised his head and walked straight to the goal 
pole at the other end of the field, scattering the 
golden grain evenly over the surface. After har 
rowing, the field was finished for the winter. 

In the fall, he cut the buckwheat and set it up in 
bundles to ~3ry. When the ground was frozen, he 
cleared a small area near the barn, making it as 
smooth as he could. This was the threshing floor 
for his buckwheat. After flailing it he took off 
the straw for bedding the oxen and swept up the 
kernels and tossed them into the air. The wind 
blew the chaff away, and the kernels fell to the 
ground, and were taken up and put into bags, taken 
to the grist mill in Farmington, and returned as 
buckwheat flour which, with potatoes, dried corn, 
beans, peas, corn meal and venison, wild turkey, 
squirrel and rabbit furnished the diet for the long 
winter months. 

In July of 1837 came the wheat harvest. The 
cradle cut and laid the wheat in an even swath which 
was caught up and bound into bundles and shocked 
so the grain might dry and ripen. The threshing 
of wheat was a bigger job than threshing a few 
bushels of buckwheat. A board floor was made 
from logs which Charles had taken to the sawmill to 
be sawed into boards. This floor was surrounded 
by a temporary fence. Bundles of wheat were 
thrown in after the bands were cut, then the oxen 


driven into the enclosure were kept moving by fre 
quent prodding with, a stick in the hands of Lewis. 
After the wheat was treaded out or threshed, the 
straw was thrown out and the grain winnowed from 
the chaff by tossing shovels full of it into the air. 
The wind blew the chaff away, the grains of wheat 
fell to the floor. Some of the neighbors threshed 
wheat with the flail, others turned horses in to 
tread it out. Later the treadmill operated by one or 
two horses furnished the power for a thresher which 
beat out the grains of wheat but did not winnow it. 
This was introduced by S. Harger of West Bloom- 

Martha was as busy in the house as Charles was 
outside. She had Lewis, Charles L. and baby Tom 
to keep clean, to be fed and clothed. She hadn't a 
great variety of food to serve. Potatoes, meat, 
Johnny cake and wheat bread were the staples and 
were served three times a day. In addition, there 
were huckleberries, strawberries, and blackberries 
in season picked by Martha and the boys. The old 
standby pork was frequently displaced by rabbit, 
squirrel, wild turkey and venison when Charles took 
time to go into the woods and get them. A typical 
dinner when the larder contained pork, potatoes and 
flour was : A large platter heaped up with steaming 
hot potatoes, and boiled pork, wheat bread, and a 
bowl of hot flour gravy made of flour and water sea 
soned with salt cooked up occasionally with a little 
grease gravy from a piece of meat. Crust coffee, 
made of wheat or rye, browned and steeped like 
coffee, was the hot drink used mostly for breakfast. 


Tea, coffee and sugar were luxuries not afforded 
during the first years in the woods. Sweetening was 
made from wild honey and maple syrup, made in 
early spring by boiling down sap from the sugar 
maple trees. Mush and milk was the supper dish 
for the children. 

The family sat down to supper after the day's 
work was done, usually after sundown. The room 
was lighted by the blaze of burning hickory bark 
and tamarack sticks so that one sitting near the fire 
place could read a newspaper. The table had the 
additional light of tallow candles when there was 
sufficient tallow. At other times a twisted rag with 
one end coiled in a saucer of lard or tallow and the 
other end lighted was the evening taper. Many a 
night after the dishes were washed and the family 
in bed, Martha ran the spinning wheel and the hand- 
loom making cloth for the shirts, coats and panta 
loons for the boys and for Charles. 

"Early to bed and early to rise 
Makes a man healthy and wise" 

was observed by the men and children but not by 
the wives. "Late to bed and early to rise" expressed 
the habits of Martha and many other mothers. The 
habit was not conducive to health. Martha was not 
robust, she was delicate. She worked hard and late 
so that she might keep her family clothed and fed. 


While the Hartsoughs and Severances were clear 
ing their farms and making their homes liveable, 


thousands of speculators and pioneers were rushing 
into Michigan and other western states and buying 
up all the good land they could get. The sales of 
western lands in 1831 brought the United States 
Government $2,300,000 while in 1837 the amount 
was $24,900,000. In Michigan, the total sales up 
to 1835 was 2,030,341 acres while in the year 1836, 
4,031,114 acres were sold and paid for in paper 
money. When the Government required specie in 
payment for Federal lands in 1837, fewer acres 
were purchased. The situation in Michigan was ag 
gravated by the "Free Bank Act' 1 of January 1837 
which required no special charter for the establish 
ment of banks. Any persons desirous of forming an 
association for the banking business might do so 
by subscribing to the entire capital stock; $50,000, 
for instance, 30% of which must be paid in specie; 
one third of the stockholders must be residents. The 
banks could issue bank notes up to the amount of 
the capital stock. Many of the banks accepted a 
kind of paper denominated "specie certificates" 
which were deposited instead of specie. Others by 
pre-arrangements carried the specie deposit from 
one bank to another just ahead of the bank exam 
iners. One specie deposit, therefore, served the 
purposes of several banks. Within a year, forty- 
nine banks were organized and within two years 
forty-two failed. Oakland County had the Bank of 
Kensington in the Southwest corner of the County 
capitalized at $50,000 in a village which had but 
twenty houses. The Bank of Sandstone with lia- 


bilities of $38,000 had no assets of any kind when it 
was examined and had never had any specie. 

The Federal government had loaned millions of 
dollars to the states. President Andrew Jackson 
and his advisers understood the situation and knew 
that if the public lands could be paid for in bank 
notes the government would suffer a great loss. He 
therefore in 1836 issued his "specie circular" to the 
effect that the government would accept only silver 
and gold for its lands. The effect in Michigan was 
that the banks would accept only specie money. The 
bank notes became worthless. Business concerns 
couldn't borrow, they had to sell. "Land speculators 
by the thousands who purchased land and opened up 
town sites on canals, highways, railroads, and 
thought themselves rich, found their imaginary 
wealth evaporated and themselves poorer than when 
they entered the territory with barely means enough 
to make an opening in the wilderness." Not an 
honest working man or farmer in the state but had 
lost some of them all they possessed by these dis 
honest "wild cat" banks in Michigan. Charles lost 
no money in the bank failures as he had none to lose. 
He couldn't sell potatoes or wheat for silver or gold. 
The paper money was worth less than the German 
marks after the European war. He couldn't buy 
anything because he didn't have the silver. He 
traded potatoes for groceries. These were hard 
times experienced during the winter of 1837-1838. 
Many of the pioneers were reduced to the starvation 



After the panic, came the fever and ague. On a 
beautiful warm day in June, Lewis and Charles L., 
who had been helping their father burn brush, came 
into the house shivering. 

Lewis : "Ma, I am so cold !" His mother bundled 
him up in blankets and set him down by the warm 
fireplace. He shivered and shook until his teeth 
rattled. In half an hour the chill passed off and 
a fever set in and made him hot. The next day, 
Charles quit work at ten o'clock, came into the 
house, sat down by the fireplace next to the kettles 
and shook so hard that the dishes rattled and then 
he passed to the torrid zone. In the afternoon he 
went out to work again. The next day Lewis re 
peated and so did his father. Martha went up to 
the Smith's for advice. She described the symptoms. 

Mrs. Smith: "That's the ague chills and fever 
and sometimes sweats. All the settlers have it and 
nearly every season. 57 

Martha: "Can the doctor cure it?" 

Mrs. Smith : "No, he can't do much to relieve it. 
Quinine is the only medicine that will help." 

Martha: "Does the child shake every day?" 

Mrs. Smith: "The patient shakes at regular in 
tervals. The chill comes on about the same hour 
every day or every other day as the case may be." 

Martha: "Do ague patients ever die with it?" 

Mrs. Smith: "Not often. Sometimes complica 
tions set in and make the patient very sick. After 
you get used to the ague you will plan on its 


coming and will sit down and wait for it, or go to 
bed and wrap the blankets about you when the time 
comes for you to "shake". The preacher appoints 
church service on the day he doesn't "shake". The 
judge holds court on the off days and the farmer ar 
ranges his work so he can sit before the fireplace 
and "shake" when his time comes." 

Dr. J. M. Hoyt of Walled Lake was called. He 
said the chills and fever were due to decaying vege 
tation and that every body in this new country has 
it and for several years in succession, during the hot 
weather. The sickness had been so general that all 
the doctor's Peruvian bark had been used. His 
patients were so poor, because they were ill so much, 
that they couldn't pay the doctor for his services. 
He had no money for the purchase of quinine. He 
substituted for quinine a tea made from poplar or 
iron wood bark with good results for the patients. 

The mosquitos were a pest, too; they bred in the 
nearby marsh. When Charles built a smudge back 
of the house to smoke the mosquitos, the oxen and 
cows would push into the smoke to get relief from 
their bites. 




There were two classes of pioneers who made 
trails to the Michigan territory. One was the pro 
moter class not contented anywhere any length of 
time. The family would settle in Wayne County, 
for illustration, and when the neighbors began to 
encroach upon its view, the family would pull up and 
go west like Richard Garland did. The opportuni 
ties seemed better farther west even away out on the 
prairies of Illinois and Iowa. In this class pos 
sessed of the wanderlust was the pioneer who 
thought most money would be made by settling 
on a farm, making improvements then selling it to 
advantage. Then he would move farther inland 
and settle again. 

The Hartsoughs, Stilsons, Hurrays, Welfares, 
Severances belong to the other large class who went 
to Michigan to acquire lands, build homes and rear 
large, healthy families and were willing to make the 
necessary sacrifices to do it. They brought with 
them their religious convictions and helped to estab 
lish and support ministers and churches. They be 
lieved in education for their children and were will 
ing to pay the "rate bills" and the taxes necessary 
for the building of school houses and for the employ- 



ment of teachers. They came intending to stay: 
no thought of returning to the stony hills of New 
England nor even to the fruitful fields of western 
New York. They cut their bridges behind them. 
They valued a home above everything else a home 
where they could live comfortably in their declining 
years a home where they could rear a family of 
useful boys and girls who in turn would establish 
homes and repeat the processes. In the course of 
twenty years, Charles had developed a good farm 
free from indebtedness, had built a large white 
house which met the needs of his large family, and 
barns and outbuildings to care for his hay, grain, 
feed and to house his horses, oxen, cows, hogs, sheep, 
poultry. He was a prosperous fanner. 

He and Martha reared a large family. After the 
Panic of 1837, Adelia was born, and in intervals 
of two or three years, Nathan, John, Jotham, and 
Elmina. The girls were assets to the mothers. 
They began young to wipe dishes, tidy up the house 
and do errands, and to help in a thousand other 
ways to relieve the mother of her many burdens. 
When the girls reached the teen age and before, they 
could do a large part of the housework allowing 
Martha to give time to spinning, knitting, weaving 
and making butter. It was a strenuous life for a 
well robust mother to make clothes and feed a family 
of eight growing boys and girls. Martha broke 
down under the burden. She enjoyed the new house 
only a few years. Considering the rough life of 
the pioneers and the exposure to which they were 
subjected and the diseases prevalent, Charles and 


Martha were fortunate not to lose more than one 
child. Lewis, the first born in whom his father 
and mother took great delight, sickened and died 
at the age of fifteen. Surely a son was a very valu 
able economic asset to the early Michigan farmers. 
A boy could earn his keep at eleven or twelve years 
of age and could do a man's work from thirteen or 
fourteen years on. It was the custom which per 
haps was sanctioned by law that the boy should 
work for his father until he became of age. In 
other words all his earnings belonged to his father. 
Charles had five boys working for him. Why should 
he not have cleared his farm, erected good buildings 
and have driven good horses ? 

The story of Charles L. is a story of boy life on 
the farm, the home life, the district school, the 
church and social customs. After he became a man, 
it is a story of farm life in Michigan and Illinois and 
of life in a typical Michigan village, 


Charles L. was not an unusual child; was not pre 
cocious; had a good mind, learned readily; was full 
of mischief and enjoyed abundance of energy; loved 
good stories and practical jokes. He was demo 
cratic as all boys must be who are brought up on 
pioneer farms. His strenuous work on the farm 
developed seasoned muscles and great strength and 
endurance. He held his own in wrestling, boxing, 
and other boyish sports. He grew to be a stalwart 
man five feet, nine inches; well-built, sturdy, with 
a manly physique. His thick hair was black; his 


eyes were gray and dreamy; an expert with the 
axe and a crack shot with the rifle. 

He belonged to the great middle class of our 
population. He was a representative of the pioneer 
farmers who settled the forests and prairies of 
Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and made this 
country a land of homes and villages where schools, 
churches, and orderly government were established 
and supported. The story of his aspirations, suc 
cess and disappointments and defeats is typical of 
the men of the pioneer type who pushed westward 
the frontiers of civilization and inveigled the fields 
into the production of abundant crops of corn, oats, 
wheat, and potatoes. 

At ten years of age, he cut down trees, trimmed 
the trunks and piled the brush. He drove the oxen 
hitched to the great iron-toothed drag which tore 
up the sod and leveled the soil for planting and 
sowing. He dropped corn and pumpkin seed in the 
hills and covered them with a hoe. As he grew 
older he went for the cow which had wandered into 
the woods, located her by the tinkling of the bell, fed 
the hogs and the chickens. He took his gun and 
guarded the corn field and hid behind a tree and 
shot the crows and the squirrels which dug up the 
seed corn just planted. He set traps for rabbits, 
for partridges and fox. He helped with the churn 
ing of the butter in the old dash church; and helped 
make soft soap by getting the barrel of wood ashes 
properly set so the water seeping through the ashes 
drained off into a bucket. It was then put into a 
large iron kettle to which was added pieces or refuse 


meat. He ran the hot tallow into the candle molds 
for his mother, chopped the meat into sausage and 
mixed up the meat and apples chopped for mince 
pies. On stormy days and winter evenings, he 
helped his mother clean and card the wool and wind 
the yarn. He kept the supply of wood by the fire 
place and when he became strong enough he cut and 
hauled the back log to the door of the house, then 
with a cant hook rolled it into place, set the green 
wood andirons, rolled up the forestick and piled on 
the pitchy tamarack wood. He took wheat to the 
grist mill at Farmington. He mounted the horse 
and sat on top the bag of wheat which was just full 
enough to allow the grain in either end of the sack 
to balance over the backbone of the horse. In the 
early spring, he had the pleasure of making wooden 
spiggots, driving them into an augur hole he bored 
into the hard maple, and of watching the drip drip 
of the sweet sap into the buckets and then the boil 
ing down of the sap and of tasting the maple syrup 
and maple sugar. It was great sport for him and 
Lewis to locate a bee tree and to secure their 
winter's honey, and to discover trees which would 
make good ox yokes or good ax helves. 

He was not unacquainted with digging and pick 
ing up potatoes, and in picking and housing the 
apples, greenings, spitzenbergen, northern spies, 
seek-no-furthers, and russets, and cider making in 
the home-made mill with grinders and pressers. 

In his early teens he was as good as a man for the 
lighter work; in his later teens no man in the neigh 
borhood could outdo him. When he was not in 


school in the winter he was felling trees and split 
ting oak rails for the zigzag rail fence of his day. 
He knew how to stand and how to strike to make 
the ax eat into the oak trunk. Every stroke counted. 
After the tree fell, the stump showed an even sur 
face almost as smooth as the saw would leave it, 
he was so skillful with his ax. 

On one occasion Alonzo one of Charles L.'s chums 
came over in the morning to go fishing at the lake 
with Charles. His father was very strict about 
letting his sons off a day for sports, such as fishing. 
When the boys asked him for permission to go he 
replied giving them a stunt: "You may go after 
you have cut and corded two and a half cords of four 
foot wood/' They accepted the challenge. Charles 
chopped and Alonzo corded two and a half cords 
of wood by four o'clock, but they were too weary to 
go fishing after that. 

He learned wood craft, the age of trees, by con 
centric rings. He knew the names of the trees, the 
basswood, beach, birch, poplars, cedars, tamarack, 
the hard and soft maples, the hickory and the elm. 
He got acquainted with the squirrels, the deer, the 
coon, the opossum, the quail, wild turkey, and wild 
duck, the partridge, crows, hawks, turkey buzzards, 
black bass, rock bass, pickerel, roach, perch, sunfish, 
and bullheads. He could read the secrets of the 
skies and tell when rain or snow would come, when 
the weather would be fair, "a rainbow at night, 
sailors delight," and the like. 

Boys, dressed in woolen suits, coonskin caps, 
heavy woolen mittens and cowhide boots over woolen 


socks, can stand lots of cold, but when the ther 
mometer indicated sub-zero weather, watering the 
stock in a creek half a mile away was not a warm 
job. He drove the oxen, horses, and cows to the 
creek to water and cut holes in the ice. After filling 
up on ice water, the cows humped up their backs, 
hair standing on end and shivered, but he frosted 
his fingers and ears and toes and consequently 
suffered from chilblains the rest of the winter. A 
heavy fall of drifting snow in the winter frequently 
covered the house and barn so that all one could 
see of the house was the chimney where the hot 
smoke escaped. Then he tugged against the door 
to get it open and tunnelled under the snow to the 
barn to reach the stock. The great snow drifts on 
the north and south road in front of the house 
made the roads impassable. The family was snow 
bound for days. 


In Charles L.'s later teen years, haying and har 
vesting furnished the heaviest work of the year. 
The farmer hurried to get his hay in before it 
should rain. To pitch hay upon the wagon and from 
the wagon to the stack or hay mow required the 
energy and strength of the most sturdy young men. 
Swinging the cradle all day in wheat harvest was 
still more strenuous. There was no part of the 
harvesting Charles L. enjoyed more than binding 
the bundles, dropped by the McCormick reaper. It 
required three men to keep up with the machine 
and a fourth to shock the bundles. The early 


machine drawn by horses or oxen was constructed 
"with a reel to throw the standing grain upon the 
platform back of the vibrating sickles and its huge 
rake which rose at regular intervals like a great 
red beckoning hand, swept through the air with an 
ingenious and effective twist and swept the sheaf 
into a gavel which lay beside its track, a most im 
pressive and picturesque tool." The binders were 
stationed one-third the way around the field. The 
first started after the machine, pulled from the 
sheaf bound enough straw to bind the next. As he 
walked he twisted it into form, the heads in the 
middle, the butts spread, his thumb on the crooked 
back of the heads. As he approached the gavel and 
his feet shoved the grain up into a sheaf, he dexteri- 
ously squared it up with a single toss, threw the 
band about it as he lifted it, laid it on the ground 
as he cinched it up and tucked the straw into a knot. 
Then he threw it away, at the same time snatching 
out the straw for the next. At the end of his 
station where the man ahead of him had begun, his 
shirt was dripping with sweat as he looked back 
for the oncoming reaping machine. 

Hog killing time came in the fall when a year's 
supply of pork was put down for the winter. 
Several hogs were killed at a time and spare ribs 
sent to the neighbors while the side pork, hams and 
shoulders were salted and cured and smoked in the 
smoke-house, with hickory limbs and bark. By 
study and practice, Charles L, became expert at 
sticking a hog. The hog was caught, turned over 
on his back feet up. While his father held the legs, 


Charles L. put his left hand on the snout and press 
ing down, with the right hand, he pushed the sharp 
knife blade into the hog's throat and with a slight 
twist of the hand severed the jugular vein. The hog 
was allowed to roll back and get upon his feet while 
the blood gurgled as it ran out through the wound. 
A boiler full of hot water was carried from the 
kitchen stove and emptied into a large rain barrel 
which was propped against a platform of planks 
on saw horses, so that the edge of the barrel was on 
a level with the plank floor. With a skid and a 
hog hook the men drew the hog up head first upon 
the platform and pushed the hog into the barrel of 
hot water hind end first to scald him so the hairs 
would slip off easily. After pulling up and letting 
down the carcass into the hot water it was drawn 
out upon the platform and by use of scrapers made 
for the purpose, and butcher knives, the hair was 
soon removed from the back end of the hog. Then 
the carcas was reversed with the same operation. 
After cleaning the hog, a two foot stick sharp at 
either end was inserted into the gambrel joints by 
which the carcas was hung against a tree in position 
for dressing. After the inwards were removed, the 
carcas was split from feet to head in the middle. 
Then it was cut up into hams, shoulders, side pork, 
rib roasts, etc. 

After the fall plowing was over and the "frost 
was on the pumpkin and the corn was in the shock," 
husking had to be done. The corn was cut with a 
sickle or corn cutter while there was a little green 
ness in the stalks and leaves. The stalks after husk- 


ing were stacked in the barnyard and fed to the 
stock during the winter months. Husking the corn 
was the last of the fairs work, and sometimes snow 
covered the shocks before the work was done and 
the corn safely stowed away in the corn crib. 
Charles L. made a husking peg by whittling out a 
hickory peg about four or five inches long coming 
to a sharp point at one end. The peg had buckskin 
straps fastened to it so that the strap would cover 
the two middle fingers which allowed the sharp point 
to project about an inch over the fore finger when 
the peg was grasped in the hand with the two 
middle fingers through the strap. The point was 
used to pierce the husk and tear it from the corn. 
He sat on his knees with the stalks lying on the 
ground in front of him with the tassels to his right. 
As fast as the ears were husked and broken from 
the stalks and thrown into a pile the stalks were 
pushed back under his knees until he got enough for 
a bundle when he would tie it up with a tough stalk 
or a willow withe. When the piles of husked corn 
were picked up and loaded in the wagon box, it 
showed that Charles averaged seventy-five to eighty 
bushels of ears of red nose corn a day. 


The early settlers in Oakland County were from 
New England and New York where they inherited 
the tradition of education in the home and in district 
schools, covering reading, writing, spelling, arith 
metic. Within a few years after Charles's settle 
ment in the county a school district was formed 


which embraced the Greenes, Hurrays, Stilsons, 
Phelps, Severances, and some others north and 
south, and called the Greene district. A log school 
house was soon erected built on the order of log 
houses. It had a front door on wooden hinges and 
the leather latch string, windows on the sides with 
panes fastened and held in place by wooden pegs, 
The desks were boards running the length of the 
room, laid on pegs driven into the logs about three 
feet from the floor. The seats were made by driving 
wooden legs into boards or slabs and by placing the 
seats parallel to the desks. The pupils therefore sat 
facing the walls as there were no seats in the middle 
of the room. There was a large fireplace in the 
back end; the teacher's desk in the front end. The 
teacher rapped on the window to call the children 
in for school. There were no blackboards, no steel 
pens, no slates, no lead pencils. Pens were made 
from goose quills, turkey, and turkey buzzard quills. 
Lewis and Charles used unruled writing paper, but 
had a "rule and plummet/' a piece of lead in the 
shape of a narrow and much elongated wedge for 
ruling the paper. They used Webster's Elementary 
Spelling Book, a curious and interesting old speller. 
The first pages contained an analysis of sounds, with 
a key, and the alphabet followed by words in col 
umns to be spelled followed by sentences containing 
the words so pupils could get the meaning and pro 
nunciation of words. Then followed words of two 
syllables, words of three syllables and so on. There 
were four fables and three stories with morals, 
the dog, the stag, the squirrel The book closed with 


a long list of sentences containing words pronounced 
alike but spelled differently, such as "rain", "rein", 
"road", "rode". The English reader was Lindley 
Murray's. It contained a "selection from the best 
writers designed to assist young persons to read 
with propriety and effect; to improve their language 
and sentiments and to inculcate some of the most 
important principles of piety and virtue". The 
selections include such selections as "Cataract of 
Niagara" by Goldsmith. "Apostle Paul's Noble 
Defense Before Festus and Agrippa" Bible Acts. 
"Nightingale and Glowworm" (poetry) by Cowper. 
"On Pride" (poetry) by Pope. "The Morning in 
Summer" (poetry) by Thomson. 

The English Reader was superseded by the Mc- 
Guffy Readers which were used forty or fifty years. 
The other books were Olney's Geography and 
Doball's Arithmetic. 

Charles was a good speller. He mastered the old 
"blue backed" speller and practiced spelling down 
until he mastered all the words in the book. He 
learned many of the selections in the English Reader 
and particularly the stories and the histories. 

The district schools made a specialty of spelling. 
The Hosner School, three miles north and east of 
the Greene School, confident that their spellers were 
superior to those spellers in the Greene School chal 
lenged them. The Greene School accepted the chal 
lenge and drilled every day for the event. The 
schools met at the Hosner School House on a frosty 
moonlight night in January. Both districts were 
well represented. It was an event similar in inter- 


est to our football games and was a real social 
event. On the Hosner side were the Forbushes, 
Andrewses, Bachelors, Hosners. On the Greene side 
the Murrays, Stilsons, Phelps, Severances. The line 
of spellers extended around two sides and one end 
of the room. The teacher of the Hosner School 
presided and pronounced the words. Easy words 
first then he launched into polysyllables, separate, 
transmigrate, government, Presbyterian. Very soon 
only six on a side were left standing, then came 
subsidiary, unnecessary, heterogeneous and Charles 
was standing alone having won for the Greene 
School. Among the Hosner girls who came forward 
to congratulate him was a striking black haired girl 
with bright sparkling eyes. She made a strong 
impression on Charles. Charles L. was fond of 
arithmetic, particularly the practical problems 
which he solved in "his head", as the expression 
went, without "figgering" with quill and paper or 
crayon and paper. 

Charles L. loved to trap and to hunt. He had 
traps set in the woods which he could reach by a 
detour on his way to school. He told me the follow 
ing story : 

"One morning, I found a skunk in my trap but 
he was dead. I skinned him, put the skin in my 
pocket and hurried to school. I rushed up to the 
fireplace to get warm. With the warming, the odor 
of skunk was apparent. The boys held their noses, 
the girls shied away. The teacher followed his 
long sensitive nose to me. The skunk was thrown 
out, and I had to stand for a half hour with a string 


tied to each thumb and attached to a peg high 
enough up on the side wall to make me stand 
with hands raised as high as my chin and held there. 
Gosh! it was a severe punishment." 

He told also of an exercise in expression. Three 
boys in the class were drilling in reading, "The wind 
of a hundred years have whistled through my 
branches". Alonzo and Alfred could say the lines 
with proper emphasis but William made a mess of 
it. He was slow to comprehend. He read "The 
winds of a hundred years whist whist led 
through my breeches". 

"Boarding round" was a hardship on teachers but 
the custom obtained in the Greene District as late 
as 1888. The teacher had the fires to build and 
frequently the wood to furnish and cut, all for 
$12.00 to $15.00 a month which was raised by the 
rate bill prior to 1850. Children were assessed pro 
rata on the number of days attendance at school. 
So many of the boys had to work in the fall and in 
the spring that school was kept only three months 
in a year. 

Education in the home was mostly practical. Chil 
dren were taught to do things and handle tools. In 
most homes the Bible, the almanac, the Detroit 
Free Press, were the materials of culture. Martha 
taught her children to read the Bible and explained 
the meanings. The Sunday School supplemented 
her teaching* The Detroit Free Press was read 
constantly which may account for Charles L's know 
ledge of contemporary events such as the building 


of railroads, plank roads, the slavery agitation and 
other political events. 

He read and reread the dark blue covered patent 
medicine almanac which hung in an honored place 
on a peg near the fireplace or on a nail behind the 
kitchen door. As a little boy he pitied the man on 
the front cover whose vitals were opened for inspec 
tion and had arrows pointing to the vital parts with 
names of the Zodiac at the outer ends of the arrows. 
What did "Aries" and "Taurus" and "Pisces" have 
to do with healing and with curing this unfortunate 
man? He turned to the pages to find out what the 
weather would be tomorrow and on Friday night 
when the spelling match was to occur; and he read: 
"Allen's Cherry Pectoral to purify the blood, Hood's 
Sarsaparilla for the blood" and the endorsement of 
their curative properties by names of men and 
women who may have lived at the ends of the earth 
as far as he was concerned, who had been helped 
or cured. He loved the aphorisms, such as "after 
dinner rest a while, after supper run a mile." 

He read his text books at home and committed 
to memory many selections from the English Reader 
such as the "Nightingale and the Glowworm". In 
later life, he was an assiduous reader. 

Religion was a large factor in the lives of the 
settlers in this community as it had been in their 
lives in New England. The church meetings were 
social as well as religious. Rev. Caleb Lamb wrote 
that women with babes in arms would follow the 


trail for four or five miles to enjoy a religious 
meeting. Wherever there were a few Christian 
families in a community there was occasional 
preaching. The preachers were either circuit riders 
of the Methodist Church or Missionary preachers of 
the Baptist denomination. The New York Baptist 
convention sent missionaries into Michigan of whom 
the best known were the Rev. Nehemiah Lamb and 
his son, Caleb, mentioned in Chapter L On his first 
trip in 1824, Nehemiah preached in Pontiac, the only 
Baptist Church in Oakland County. He then 
preached to a company at Stony Point and organ 
ized a church, and at Troy where another church 
was organized. He preached in other communities 
where a few families could be assembled in a home 
or in a school house. Caleb came to Michigan to live 
in 1829 under appointment from the New York 
Baptist Convention and went from settlement to 
settlement preaching and organizing churches one 
of which was the little church at West Farmington 
where Charles and Martha were members. 

The Methodist Missionaries were early in the field 
riding circuits and caring for the spiritual welfare 
of the pioneers. The little group in the Bachelor 
neighborhood was served by a circuit rider from 
Farmington who held services in the Hosner school 
house. The few Methodists in the village of Walled 
Lake, received the ministration of the Circuit rider 
from Farmington at first, then from the circuit 
rider of the Commerce circuit 


It frequently happened in the early settlement of 
Michigan that people of the same nationality and 
kinfolks took up farms from the government and 
settled in the same community, frequently on adja 
cent farms. German settlements in Illinois, Swedish 
settlements in Minnesota, Norwegian settlements, 
similar to the settlements in South Dakota described 
by Rolvaag in his "Giants of the Earth" were all 
duplicated in Michigan. The Scots settled about 
Orchard and Pine Lakes in Oakland County. Kin- 
folk frequently settled in the same community where 
they were able to secure farms adjacent or not far 
apart; such was the case of the Bachelors, Orrs, 
Hosners, Forbushes who settled about three miles 
south of Orchard Lake in West Bloomfield township 
and four miles east of Charles Severance's farm, 
and a few miles west of Birmingham. 

When the tide of immigration set in from Western 
New York, Consider Bachelor and his family were 
borne in on the flood tide. There were Samuel and 
Sidney with their families ; Susan and William Orr 
and little Frank; Hannah and Thomas Hosner and 
Martin Van Buren ; Julia and Ed. Allan ; Catherine 
and Edwin Forbush and their daughter, Lyvonia, 
and sons Henry and Cordon; and Abbey Bachelder 



and her husband. They took up farms on either 
side of the highway which runs directly west from 
Birmingham. In the same district was John 
Andrews, William Coe, and Seeley Harger for whom 
the first school house was named. Edwin was a 
native of Massachusetts, the son of Bliss Forbush, a 
farmer and shoemaker who might have traced his 
lineage back to France through England. Bliss 
emigrated to western New York early in the century 
when the New England states became congested 
with population and farmers heard that good land 
free from stones was to be had in New York. Edwin, 
his son, born in 1805, married Catherine Bachelor 
and settled on a farm in Clarkson, Cayuga County, 
New York. After the Bachelors settled in West 
Bloomfield they wrote in such effulgent praise of the 
great opportunities in Michigan, of the climate, of 
the soil, of the forests and the possibilities of homes 
for themselves and their children, that the lure of 
the west became so strong that Edwin sold out and 
settled near Samuel in 1832. Edwin and Catherine 
purchased one hundred and sixty acres of wood land 
from the government in the timbered hills and 
valleys west of Hosner school house in West Bloom- 
field, built a regulation size and style of log house, 
such as has been described earlier in this book and 
settled with their three children, Lyvonia, Cordon 
and Henry, two years before Charles settled in Com 
merce township. Edwin was an industrious man 
and managed to save sufficient money made off his 
New York farm to pay for his Michigan land and 
his expenses until he could raise a crop. By the time 


Charles arrived in Farmington the Bachelor settle 
ment showed many acres of cleared and productive 
land and a school house where the "circuit rider" 
often held religious services, named the Harger 
School at first, but later the Hosner School in honor 
of Thomas Hosner. 

The soil was light clay well drained but Edwin 
soon discovered that the clay soil must not be plowed 
or cultivated when it was wet. The story of the 
clearing of the farm, erecting good buildings, the 
sowing, planting, reaping, threshing, the hard times, 
and the panic of 1837 are replicas of the story of 
Charles's pioneer life and do not need repeating. 
Cordon and Henry furnished man power for the 
development of the farm. 

After twelve years work, Edwin still lived in the 
original log house. He erected a barn for his oxen, 
horses, and cows in which to keep them warm. He 
had pig sties, sheep cotes, but the same old house, 
the same old fireplace, the old cranes and kettles, 
and bedsteads. The boys, thirteen and fifteen years 
of age still slept on their ticks of cornhusk or straw 
on the second floor. Pioneer farmers and modern 
farmers for the most part emphasized the value of 
hogs and cows and minimized the value of house 
wives, and children. The legislature of the present 
age will more quickly appropriate money for the 
extermination of the foot and mouth disease, and 
for the destruction of the corn borer than for the 
eradication of the hook worm and tuberculosis. 

Catherine was an exceptional woman in that she 
was strong and robust and could endure the strenu- 


ous work and assume the responsibilities of the 

house, of rearing children (she had already given 

birth to eight), of clothing the family by weaving 

and sewing and knitting, of providing food for the 

family, early breakfasts and late suppers. She 

gloried in her strength and her ability to turn off 

work. She was happy with her family; Henry, a 

freckled faced boy of fifteen, a promising lad who 

some day would have a farm near theirs; Cordon, 

a robust and sturdy boy of thirteen years; her 

eldest girl, Louisa, nearly twelve, a bright, active 

little girl with hazel eyes and black hair, a picture 

of her mother. Then came Lavancha, four years 

old, Mabel, two years old, and Edwin, less than a 

year old. She rejoiced in her growing family and 

in Edwin and in the home they were building. She 

was happy, also, in having brothers and sisters near 

her. On holidays and Sunday, the families were 

together. Her nephews, Mack Bachelor and Martin 

Van Buren Hosner and Francis Orr were rapidly 

growing out of youth into manhood. When all the 

families assembled at the Forbushes, the boys would 

play fox and geese and sham battle with snow balls 

in the winter time, and broad jump, run and jump 

and foot races in the summer time. When middle 

life for Catherine was so sweet and enjoyable, death 

came stalking by. She was taken sick on Monday 

and died the following Sunday with erysipelas in 

1845. They interred the body in the cemetery at 

North Farmington. 

"What would Edwin do for a housekeeper?" was 
asked by the neighbors of one another. Edwin 


asked himself the question and answered "No girls 
in the neighborhood to be had. We will get along 

Many years later Louisa told her children the 
story of the years following her mother's death. 
She said: "Aunt Ann and Aunt Susan told Pa that 
they would help me all they could and Pa told me 
that the boys would help with the work in the house 
when the responsibility of the home fell upon my 
shoulders. I lacked two months of being twelve 
years old. I was well and strong and as full of 
energy as a young colt and I set to with a will. 
Eddie was only eleven months' old and needed the 
constant care of a mother to feed and clothe and 
keep him clean. Pa fed him at the table and took 
him to bed with him. Lavancha, only four years old, 
needed help and care instead of having to help me 
with the work. Henry and Cordon had grown to 
youth without learning how to wipe dishes, make 
beds and carry water for cooking. The glamour of 
my task vanished in a few weeks. The hard work of 
lifting the heavy kettles and hanging them on the 
crane, preparing potatoes and cooking bread in the 
bake oven and getting meals on the table for our 
family of six was more than I could stand up under. 
Aunt Hannah helped for several weeks in getting 
the bread ready for the bake kettle and helped with 
the washing. Housekeeping in a log house and 
cooking over a fireplace is no comparison to the ease 
and comfort of a modern home with its cook stove 
and its heater, and with utensils handy. I went up 
the ladder and threw myself down on the cornhusk 


tick at night with my feet aching, my shoulders and 
legs aching and the muscles twitching and cried 
myself to sleep. It seemed no time before I heard 
Pa calling before daylight, "Time to get up". 

"Do you see how my shoulders droop? Round 
shoulders due to lifting heavy pails, lifting and car 
ing for Eddie. Only a strong physique and courage 
and spirit and a keen sense of duty kept me to my 
task. As the years went by and I grew stronger 
and Eddie became able to help himself and Lavan- 
cha became helpful, the burdens became easier and 
the responsibilities less irksome. Then a dreadful 
thing happened. Cordon at eighteen years of age, 
and industrious boy helping about the house, nearly 
old enough to start a home of his own, stepped on a 
rusty nail and was maimed for life. He never used 
the foot again. He walked on crutches and knitted 
mittens at fifty cents a pair and other jobs which 
he could do with his hands." 

"The district school was only half a mile from our 
house. What time could I get to go to school after 
getting Lavancha, Mabel and Eddie ready and after 
doing my house work? I went to school before 
Mother died and learned to read and to write and 
to do sums in arithmetic. My education was very 
practical. No girl of my acquaintance could care 
for a home better than I could. We went to church 
held in the school house occasionally at first and 
then regularly by one of those "circuit riders" and 
occasionally we drove to the Baptist Church at 
North Farmington. I loved the service and have 


always loved those old hymns we used to sing and 
frequently now hum or sing The promised land'." 

This little settlement was greatly stirred by the 
news of the discovery of gold in California in 1848. 
General Kit Carson brought several nuggets of gold 
with him in 1848 on his trip to Washington to report 
to headquarters. The covered wagon train bound 
for Oregon in 1848 detoured at Fort Bridger for 
California when the news of gold first reached it. 
Travellers coming east brought the news. The 
newspapers with their bold headlines flashed the 
news over the country so that early in 1849, thou 
sands of gold seekers from the east and middlewest 
set out for California overland in caravans of hun 
dreds of wagons, and by ship to Panama, and by 
foot or ox carts across to the Pacific coast and then 
after waiting two months or three months, they got 
ships for San Francisco where the ships were 
abandoned. Engineers, firemen, deckhands all 
bought shovels, picks, tin pans, cooking utensils and 
went northeast to Sutter's landing. 

The boys in the Bachelor neighborhood were eager 
to start west at once. The fathers and mothers were 
fearful of what might befall their sons who had 
never been farther than twenty miles from home. 
They had seen Detroit, but California was on the 
other side of the world. Little groups of the boys 
and groups of men at church discussed the proposi 
tion pro and con. 

Edwin said : "It is a mighty dangerous trip over 
land and besides the distance is so great you could 
never walk it." 


Samuel: "Yes and if you should ride one of our 
fine horses and he should die on the way, what 
would you do stranded on the western plains where 
the Indians would hunt your scalp and the vultures 
would wait for your body and the body of the horse, 
and besides it would require a lot of gold to pay for 
the horse." 

Thomas: "The whole world of adventurers will 
be there before you and you might not strike a vein 
of gold at all. Then where would you be and how 
would you get back?" 

William : "I say, boys, I wouldn't go. We have 
good farms here, you all have excellent opportunities 
to make good homes and a comfortable living." 

The mothers shed tears and begged their sons not 
to think of going, but Henry had no mother. He 
was of age, twenty-one, had no one dependent upon 
him, was free to take a chance of finding gold enough 
to make him rich. He was a freckled faced lad, 
solidly built, reddish brown hair, with an embryo 
beard of the same color. He stood about five feet 
high, a clean frank face, goodness and tenderness 
shone in his mild eyes. His face radiated hope and 
kindness. His square chin indicated decision, deter 
mination and courage. It was arranged that a 
young man near Farmington would be his com 
panion. Then came the excitement of getting ready 
for the long journey. Louisa made him a knapsack 
for food and for the little things he might wish to 
carry, such as needles, yarn, etc. and consecrated 
the sack with briny tears. Two new shirts, an extra 
pair of pants and socks were included. The whole 


neighborhood was at church Sunday to see him and 
wish him a safe journey and good luck. Monday, 
after tearful and 'sorrowful farewells, his father 
took Henry to Detroit where he met George. The 
boys took train for Chicago where they got into a 
train of schooners bound for Independence, Mis 
souri, the assembling point of caravans from the 
north, east, and south, preparatory for the two 
thousand miles of prairie, desert, mountains and 
fertile valleys en route to the land of gold. The 
covered wagons took one of three routes to the 
Pacific. Henry and George fell in with a party 
going overland by way of Bennet's Point, Denver, 
Salt Lake City and San Francisco the route now 
traversed by the Union Pacific Railway. At San 
Francisco, the boys purchased blankets, a few cook 
ing utensils, some food, a pick, a shovel, and a tin 
pan at $5.00 each and followed the crowd to the gold 
mines. Then followed the hard work of digging in 
the creek bottoms and washing the ore, while they 
stood ankle deep in the cold icy mountain stream. 
There were shallow excavations and construction of 
washing bins a long summer of hard work, but lots 
of gold dust as a reward. The boys were cautious 
and sensible. The large amount of gold acquired 
didn't make them reckless. They avoided the gamb 
ling dens where other miners lost in an hour all of 
their output for the summer months and were 
stranded and compelled to stay for the next year or 
become moral and economic derelicts. Henry and 
George buckled around them their specially con 
structed leather belts filled with gold dust, with 


pistols and cartridges protruding from the belt in 
front. They wore the belts continuously on their 
voyage down the Pacific Coast across the Isthmus of 
Panama, then by ship to New York and by train to 
Detroit where they arrived on an early spring after 
noon. The frequenters of the Detroit hotel, where 
they intended to stay over night were curious and 
unduly interested in these returned 7 49ers. 

Henry to George : "Did you see that fellow look 
at us askance? I don't like his looks. Let's go." 

George: "For hom?" 

Henry : "Yes. We are safer on the road than we 
are here if we can steal away, and keep our powder 

Aided by the brightness of the full moon in a 
cloudless sky, they left the highway and followed 
woodland trails and reached home at one o'clock in 
the morning. 


Farm life in every community would be dull, 
monotonous, and depressing were it not for the few 
occasions when neighbor visits neighbor and mem 
bers of the community meet together in church wor 
ship, in socials and picnics, at quilting bees, at 
threshing bees, logging bees, house and barn rais 
ings and grain threshing in the fall of the year. A 
favorite outing was the annual spring and the an 
nual fall trips to town, when the whole family would 
go together on a load of grain or on a load of poul 
try or on a load of potatoes. There were butter 
and eggs to be sold, groceries to be purchased, shoes 
and boots and clothes to be fitted to the whole family. 
It was a social event, a real outing for the house 
wives, especially. The growing city of Pontiac was 
the trade center of Oakland County. It boasted 
of a railroad and an improved highway running 
directly to Detroit, the metropolis and trade center 
of the state. 

The school house in the Bachelor community was 
a social center. The children gathered here for 
school, the whole community for the spelling 
matches and for the preaching once or twice a 
month. The worship together and the preaching 



gave the people an uplift and furnished new ideals 
and inspirations. Such services transferred the 
every day thoughts into new channels. They made 
life seem more worth while. On these occasions, 
the women chatted about their hats and dresses, 
about chickens, butter and eggs, about their ailments 
if they were unfortunate enough to have them, and 
about their babies and boys and girls. The men 
swapped horses, and sold seed potatoes and seed 
wheat and talked about the prospects of crops, of 
rain, and of dry weather and its effects upon crops. 
After a Sunday off like this, the farmer and his 
wife and the boys and girls all started the work 
on Monday with new vigor and renewed energy. 

Threshing time was an event of the season. The 
women folk looked forward eagerly for the day 
which would bring all the neighbors together. The 
neighbor women would come in and help prepare the 
big dinner. The boys and girls loved the hustle of 
the threshers, and their banter and jokes and 
stories. They loved to see the horses go round and 
round and hear the whir and the purr of the swift 

The grain was now, in the fifties, cut with the 
reaper, bound by hand, shocked, and drawn to the 
barnyard and stacked. After standing in the stack 
for a month or six weeks to season it was threshed. 
Seeley Harger's thresher, which did not separate the 
straw and chaff from the grain, and for which the 
power was furnished by the treadmill operated by 
horse power, had been superseded by the big 


thresher which carried the straw to the stack and 
winnowed the grain by an attached fanning mill. 

Henry remained at home during the summer to 
help with the work as Cordon was too badly crippled 
even to run the mower or reaper. He located a farm 
during the summer and purchased it with his Cali 
fornia gold, a farm located in a pleasant valley with 
high hills on two sides, about four miles west of the 
town of Milf ord. It was a beautiful valley with rich 
soil formed from the erosion of the hill sides. 

Henry and his father, Edwin, followed the thresh 
er through the neighborhood and beyond, including 
the Severances, and by a tradition of exchange of 
labor, earned enough time for manning the thresher 
for their own grain. They finished the season at 
the Forbushes. Henry came home from the An- 
drewses where the threshing was just finished. He 
said to Louisa: "The threshers will be here to 
night!" Eddie overheard, shouted "Goodie", and ran 
out to the road to see if they were in sight, then 
climbed the rail fence. That wasn't high enough, 
then he scaled the side of the house and stood upon 
the roof ridge looking west toward the Andrewses. 
Finally he saw the great thresher coming. "Whoo 
pee". Then quickly he slid oif the roof, rushed 
across the yard and ran up the road. He rode back 
perched high upon the machine behind his cousin 

The separator was drawn up between the stack 
of oats and the stack of wheat with the straw car 
rier pointing to the stack of straw to be made. The 
wheels were sunk three or four inches in the ground 


so the vibration of the separator would not move the 
machine. The "power" was drawn into place and 
spiked down by lantern light. The turkey gobbler 
roosting high in the tree near the barn aroused his 
harem and in turkey language put them on guard 
and cheered them with his courageous gobble. The 
chickens in the trees sensed something wrong and 
began cackling, climbing higher and the rooster 
alternately soothed his flock and crowed to keep up 
his courage. The geese in the barn lot surprised 
at this strange phenomena rent the air with their 
hisses and raucous cries. The colts in the adjacent 
meadow approached cautiously, took a look, snorted, 
turned about and with heads high and curved necks, 
galloped off to the far end of the field. 

Edwin caught three young cockerels in the hen 
house, wrung their necks and dressed them, singed 
them, cut them up ready for the pot. Louisa and 
Lavancha pared a great pan of potatoes by candle 
light, set the bread to rise with emptyings so that 
it would be ready for the bake oven in the morning. 

The next morning before the break of day the 
cocks began to crow and the gobbler to strut and 
the geese to scold, which awakened the men from 
their heavy slumbers. They were soon out to milk 
the cows, feed the horses and harness them, to feed 
the pigs and to pile wood around the fireplace. 
Seeley and Mack examined the thresher, drove addi 
tional spikes into the ground to hold the "power", 
adjusted the leather bands, made ready the table to 
catch the bundles and the platform for the band 
cutter, elevated the straw carrier into place, con- 


nected the tubes and the spout for carrying the grain 
and set the measures in place to receive it. The early 
sun gave promise of a clear day. The haze of early 
morning gave way to a clear sky with gray clouds 
racing across it. The frost was on the pumpkin 
and on the cold west wind, but he was soon overcome 
by the warm rays of the sun and left in the shade. 

Eddie was down at daylight. You couldn't keep 
a lively kid like Eddie in bed when the threshers 
were there. He bolted out the door to the thresher 
and called back: "There comes Uncle Sam and Uncle 
Will with their teams, and Cousin Frank". Look 
ing toward the east he shouted: "Uncle Thomas and 
Cousin Van with their gray horses." 

"Got enough men to run the machine, Cousin 

Mack: "No, not yet. We expect the Severance 
boys and Johnnie and Lish". 

He looked to the west and saw three horsemen 
galloping toward him. He soon discerned Charles 
L., Chalkley and Johnnie, and to the north across 
the field came Elisha Farmer. Mack was a fat, ro 
bust young man who took life easy and moderate, 
never got in a hurry, apt to choose the easiest jobs. 
It may have been this reason that gave him the job 
of driving the horses to furnish the power. The 
"power" was staked to the ground several feet from 
the thresher. It consisted of a lot of cog wheels. 
The ends of the sweeps were attached here ; a large 
square platform was placed on top on which the 
driver sat or stood; a tumbling rod fastened together 
with a special contrivance called knuckle joints was 


attached at one end to the ' 'power" the other to some 
cogs which ran the cylinder of the thresher into 
which the grain was fed. The four teams were 
hitched each to the end of a sweep with the bridle 
strap attached to the end of the sweep in front. The 
horses furnished the power to turn the cog wheels 
and this power was transferred to the cylinder by 
the tumbling rod which lay spiked down by collars 
close to the ground so the horses could step over the 
turning rod without injury. 

Mack mounted the platform above the "power/' 
carrying a long whip stalk in his hand to which was 
attached a short rawhide lash. The off horse was 
therefore near enough to the driver to feel the cut 
of the whip lash. Seeley stood before the great 
cylinder ready to feed the grain into its greedy mow. 
Van stood next with the serrated band knife in his 
hand ready to cut the bands. Charles L. and Elisha 
mounted the stack ready to throw bundles. Edwin 
and Frank stood ready to catch the golden grain and 
bag it while Sam and Thomas stood at the end of 
the carrier to receive the straw. 
Seeley shouted to Mack : "Let her go." 
Mack flourished his whip : "Come on boys," "get 
up there, Bill", "heave to", "The day's begun", 
"Come Jack, get into your collar." The horses be 
gan to pull, the wheels began to move, the tumbling 
rod began to tumble, the great wheel that turned the 
cylinder began to whirl and the deep bass voice of 
the cylinder began to sing and its deafening song 
could be heard for miles. The more rapidly the 
wheel turned, the more nearly like a purr became 


the whir of the cylinder. When the tune reached 
the right pitch, Seeley caught a bundle with his 
right hand, spread it out and fed it evenly into the 
cylinder. A steady stream of bundles poured upon 
the feeding table, the bands were cut by Van, the 
grain fed into the machine by Seeley, the straw fell 
from the carrier upon the stack. Edwin and Frank 
caught the wheat in measures, emptied it into bags 
which were carried by William to the granary and 

Eddie wanted to be a thresher so he could feed the 
grain. In his eyes that was the big job, the most 
important one. "When I grow up," he told Lavan- 
cha, "I am going to be thresher man and feed the 
bundles of grain into the great cylinder." Then he 
looked at Mack who seemed to be so comfortably 
sitting on the box above the "power" with nothing 
to do but to keep the horses walking at the proper 
speed, and thought, *Td like that job." Just then the 
west wind rushed him; he saw Mack slapping his 
sides with his arms and hands to get them warm ; he 
ran around the stack for shelter. Then he rushed out 
to help Uncle Sam stack the straw, got dust in his 
eyes, nose and throat, then slid off the stack and 
went to watch the stream of wheat pulsing out the 
spout and running into the measure. A miracle: 
"Where does it come from ?" "The bundles of grain 
pushed into the top of the machine; the wheat 
coming out here, and the straw carried to the stack." 

About ten o'clock, Seeley gave way to Johnnie 
Andrews and Chalk changed places with Van and 
cut bands. Then Thomas, black with dirt, his white 


teeth shining like a negro's, yelled from the straw 
stack : "Give us some straw, Johnnie/' Charles L. 
shouted back: "We will cover you up," and made 
the bundles fly. Mack cracked his whip and yelled 
to the steaming horses. The sleepy growl of the 
cylinder rose to a howl and the wheat came pulsing 
out the spout in such a stream that William car 
rying the grain, shouts to Johnnie: "Hold up, you 
will have the wheat all over the ground." 

Aunt Susan and Aunt Hannah came over early and 
were in the kitchen helping Louisa get dinner for 
the threshers. The table was set, the dinner cooked 
in the great kettles hanging to the cranes in the 
fireplace. At twelve o'clock Eddie ran out of the 
house and shouted in his slender voice "Dinner," 
but no one heard him. Then he ran to his father, 
who backed away from the measures of wheat, and 
shouted in a loud voice "Dinner!" 

Mack called to his horses: "Whoa! Whoa there 
boys! Steady Bill! Slow up Jack!" and held the 
whip stalk out in front of their eyes to convince 
them that he really meant them to stop. He jumped 
down, released the traces and each owner hustled to 
get his team to water and to feed. Charles and Van 
slid off the stack of grain, Sam and Thomas rolled 
off the straw and they all ran to the wash basin 
just outside the house so as to be the first to get 
washed and seated at the dinner table. 

In the center of the table in front of Edwin was 
the large platter of steaming potatoes pared ready 
for mashing. On either side of the platter were 
smaller platters of boiled chicken, cut ready to serve, 


plates of bread at either end of the table. Just to 
the right of Edwin almost in front of Johnnie was 
the large bowl of hot chicken gravy with biscuits 
swimming in it. Johnnie was a devout Methodist 
and when he asked the blessing at the table he had 
the habit of bending forward, dropping his face 
within an inch or two of his plate. Edwin nodded 
to him to ask the blessing; Charles, who sat next 
to Edwin, moved the bowl of gravy and biscuits in 
front of Johnnie at the very moment when his head 
dropped forward. His nose dropped into the hot 
soup. He started to say "Our Father " and ended 
with, "Gosh darn it! It's hot!" to the great amuse 
ment of all the men. The whole table was in an 
uproar. They liked practical jokes. Louisa poured 
the coffee and kept the cups filled, and passed the 
cream and sugar. Lavancha filled other cups with 
water. Aunt Susan and Aunt Hannah kept the 
chicken, potatoes, gravy, bread and butter moving. 
The men set to with a will as they did with their 
work. They were ravenously hungry. By the time 
they reached the dessert the gingerbread they be 
came talkative and chafed the young men about 
their girls. Van, who was "shining up" to the Dye 
girl over South, told about a neighbor who had been 
annoyed by Dye's chickens and who killed two of 
them, and served a dinner to which he invited the 
Dyes. When EzeMel was full of chicken and was 
praising its quality and the cooking of it, his friend 
told him that the chicken should be good as it was 
one of his (Dye's) own raising. Others talked 
about crops. Samuel told William that his corn 


would go one hundred bushels of ears to the acre. 
Edwin said his wheat would yield about fifty bushels 
to the acre. 

Edwin: "Are you fattening any steers, Charles?" 
"Yes, twenty head. Indications are the prices will 
be high in January." 

William to Johnny: "How much wheat did you 

Johnny: "Thirty acres. It is already up, looks 

They all praised Louisa and Lavancha for their 
bountiful dinner. Louisa, now seventeen, was an 
efficient, capable, housekeeper and cook. As she and 
her sister moved about the table serving, the young 
bachelors were properly impressed. As Louisa stood 
by the fireplace after the dessert was served, with 
arms akimbo, with her new apron on, sleeves rolled 
up to her elbows, sparkling eyes and beaming face, 
having a feeling of satisfaction that her dinner was 
appreciated and enjoyed, she looked good and whole 
some, efficient, attractive, the embodiment of every 
quality which might be found in the ideal girl and 
wife. She was particularly attractive to Charles L., 
who had thoughts of making a home. When he ob 
served Louisa in her role of housekeeper and ate her 
delicious dinner, the hot, crisp biscuits, the chicken 
done to the king's taste he found the solution of 
his problem. While pitching bundles to the feeder 
in the afternoon he became listless, his mind seemed 
to wander. It wasn't centered on his pitching 
bundles. He was building aircastles for the future. 


Seeley would call out, "Wake up, Charles, are you 

After dinner Seeley and Samuel mended the fan 
belt, oiled the cogs in the "power" and in the 
cylinder and the wheels of the carrier so that the 
machine would be ready when the call, "One o'clock" 
should come. The boys did the hop, skip and jump, 
during the noon hour. They even got up a 
wrestling match between Charles L. and Francis. 
When the threshers finished at night and left for 
their homes, Henry said to Charles L. : "Come over 
some time and I will tell you about my trip to Cali 
fornia." Charles: "I will come Sunday." 

When Sunday came, his Mother urged him to go 
to church with them to West Farmington. 

Charles L. : "No, I am going to the Hosner School 

Mother: "Why go so far away, when you can 
ride all the way with us?" 

Charles L.: "I want a change. They say that 
this minister at Hosner's School House is fine. He 
is entertaining." 

Mother: "There must be some other reason. 
You wouldn't ride that far just to hear a Methodist 

Charles L.: "Henry Forbush is home after his 
trip to California. I want to see him." (and he 
might have added "Louisa".) 


Charles went regularly to the Hosner Church 
services for some months and on the first trip he 


and Henry talked over the prospects of farming 
compared to business enterprises. 

Charles L. : "Do you think fanning has as great 
a future for us young men born and bred on the 

Henry : "I surely do or I would not have invested 
in the farm in Pleasant Valley. Your farms in 
Oakland County are not far from good markets and 
you have some improved roads. There are the Pon- 
tiac and Detroit, and the Pontiac, Walled Lake and 
Ann Arbor highways which are not far from us. 
The Detroit & Pontiac railroad runs through Bir 
mingham, only eight miles from us. Have you seen 
the little wood heated engine? The farmer who is 
near the track and can furnish dry wood for the 
engine has a good job. The road uses lots of ties 
over which they place long wooden rails sawed out, 
on top of which long strips of strap iron, called 
"snake heads" are nailed to carry the wheels of the 
engine and cars. This railroad gives us eastern 
markets by way of Detroit and the Great Lakes. 
The Detroit and St. Joseph Railroad (Michigan Cen 
tral) is in operation between Ann Arbor and 
Detroit. The passenger coaches are large omni- 
busses on frames and it has freight cars also. This 
county is building plank roads. There is the De 
troit and Grand River Turnpike running through 
Farmington, Novi, Howell and Lansing, part of 
which is planked. This gives us easy access by way 
of Farmington to the best market in the state 
Detroit There will soon be a plank road from Pon 
tiac through Birmingham and Royal Oak to Detroit." 


Charles L. : "There is talk in the Free Press and 
the Pontiae Gazette of establishing a College of 
Agriculture in the state. The college ought to help 
us farmers materially." 

Henry: "Yes, the college will help us all to farm 
more intelligently and consequently we can raise 
more wheat, corn and oats and potatoes to the acre. 
Then, too, the cities are growing rapidly and fac 
tories are opening up everywhere; the country is 
prosperous, a survey is being made for a Pacific Rail 
way connecting the east with the west. There will 
be a ready sale with good prices for all we can 
raise. New machinery, such as mowers, reapers, 
threshers, will increase the acreage and crop pro 
duction. Another important aid to farmers is 
the importation of well bred cattle, the Durhams, 
the Holsteins, and the Clydesdale and Percheron 
horses, and the Hampshire and Shropshire sheep. 
Stock raising is a coming business. Stock farmers 
are going away down to Texas for steers and are 
bringing them to Illinois and Michigan to be fed for 
the market. The farmers are organizing in clubs 
and associations for social purposes as well as for 

Charles L. r "Will politics have any effect on our 
fanning? The slavery question looms on the hori 
zon. The Missouri Compromise didn't settle it. The 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill is causing bloodshed. There 
was a mass meeting in Detroit to protest to Con 
gress against the passage of the bill. Zach Chandler 
spoke against the bill; Lewis Cass spoke in its be 
half. The Republican party made up of Democrats, 


Whigs, and Free Sellers, who opposed the extension 
of slavery, met in Jackson, July 6, 1854, and organ 
ized and pledged itself to work for the repeal of 
this Kansas-Nebraska bill. Haven't you heard 
about that homely but honest man Abe Lin 
coln of Illinois, a Whig, who is becoming the cham 
pion of anti-slavery, and Stephen Douglas Senator 
Douglas of Washington the champion of slavery? 
I'm afraid we will have war." 

Henry: "If we do have war, many of us young 
men will have to go. We will need all the rest to 
raise enough produce to care for the army and for 
the non-agricultural workers. I still think we will 
do well to stick to our farms. Look about us. You 
see good barns and houses on most farms, and they 
are well stocked with cattle, horses, sheep and hogs. 
The farmers are prosperous and are making money. 
Isn't this true of your father?'' 


After living in the Bachelor neighborhood for more 
than twenty years, and clearing and developing a 
good farm with barns, sheds and corncribs, Edwin 
sold the farm and bought another the Dandison 
farm north of the east end of the Middle Straits 
Lake. The next year found him settled permanently 
on a 160-acre farm south of the Middle Straits, 
formerly owned by William Green. Frank Orr also 
left the old neighborhood soon after the Forbushes 
settled on their new farm, and settled on another 
farm on the north side of the Pontiac and Ann Arbor 
road, still in West Bloomfield, Charles L. discovered 


good fishing in the Middle Straits and on Saturday 
afternoons he would go there ostensibly to fish. 

Chalk said to him: "There is good fishing in 
Walled Lake, only three miles away. Why walk 
five miles to the Straits? Do you catch bigger and 
better fish?" 

Charles L: "I certainly do, the lake is full of 
large roach, sunfish, perch, rock bass, and pickerel. 
They ain't all fished out over there like they are at 
Walled Lake." 

He soon began to stay all night and the following 

Cordon said: "Louisa, things look kind of serious 
between you and Charles." She: "No! he doesn't 
care for me. He would rather fish. He is lonesome 
and comes to see you and Pa and to talk over raising 
hogs and corn/' But she couldn't help being inter 
ested in him, although she was bashful, shy, retir 
ing, and would seldom look into his gray eyes, wist 
ful with love. Why shouldn't she be interested in 
this fine looking young man, stout, robust, muscular, 
with a high forehead, covered with coal black hair, 
with a cowlick in the center where the part should 
come? He was five feet, nine inches tall, stood 
erect, six inches taller than she was. Besides he 
was interested in the preaching meetings, so was 

His mother couldn't understand why Charles L. 
had taken to fishing every Saturday and to remain 
ing at the Forbushes over Sunday and to going to 
church every Sunday with Eddie, Louisa, and 
Lavancha. Soon he found excuses for riding his 


best horse to the Straits on mid-week evenings. 
Finally one soft, balmy May evening, the bright full 
moon, high up overhead with no visible support with 
fleecy clouds passing over her face, shone through 
the thick foliage of a stately sugar maple and cast 
her tender rays of light upon Charles and Louisa 
sitting on the grassy bank of the lake across the 
road from the house. The bull frogs down by the 
water were singing their basso profundo and the 
little frogs were croaking in mere happiness to be 
alive and to have a home in the rushes ; a tree toad 
on the first limb of the maple tree was calling for 
rain, an owl in a nearby tree looked down and 
purred "To whit! to woo!; and a bird in the forest 
across the lake was calling to his mate "Whip Poor 
Will", "Whip Poor Will" and a lonely hen loon float 
ing on the waters of the west end of the lake near 
the Richardsons was intermittently calling across 
the lake for her mate. It was a poetic evening in the 
mating season. Charles gently slipped his arm 
around Louisa's waist and pressed her to him. 
There was a sympathetic understanding in their 
eyes which shone with a new brightness. Their lips 
touched! New ideals and purposes were created, a 
new home was established. Their lives immediately 
began the process of being knitted together with 
common ideals, common purposes. 

On the twelfth day of June 1856, they were 
married by Reverend Samuel Morse, pastor of the 
Baptist Church at Walled Lake, in the early after 
noon, in the shade of that beautiful old maple tree 
which spread out his branches loaded with green 


leaves to protect the bridal couple from the hot rays 
of the sun. The bride wore a two piece black silk 
dress. The waist was tight fitting, sleeves full and 
flowing. The skirt was tight about the waist but 
full and flowing at the bottom. Aunt Hannah placed 
some red rose buds in her knot of black hair, and a 
bouquet of them in full bloom on her left breast. 
Charles looked fine in his high heeled boots, his 
Prince Albert coat which Louisa later called his 
"Alpaca wedding coat." If you could have seen 
them standing side by side under the spreading 
maple with spots of sunlight filtering through the 
leaves and falling upon their figures, you would have 
said, "A fine couple, a good match". Charles was 
erect, towering above her six inches, black hair with 
a cowlick in front, giving the effect of a pompadour, 
and was dressed in his long black coat and vest with 
white collar and a black bow tie, and black panta 
loons to match. She looked beautiful in her black 
silk, with the red roses on her breast and in her 
hair. The red of the roses blended with the black 
hair and the black silk to produce a beautiful 


Charles L. : "How do you like the looks of this 
house, Louisa? Not much like the log houses you 
have lived in, is it?" 

Louisa: "No, I won't know how to act in that 
big house." 

Charles L. : "Let's go inside." (They enter the 
front door under a porch). "Here is a large room 
you can use for the dinner table an ample room for 
a large family." 

Louisa : "What's in here? (pushing the door open 
to her left) . Why, this is the room the Smith's used 
for a parlor." 

They wandered through into the kitchen, pantry, 
woodshed, and then into the several rooms upstairs. 
Then they looked out to the east and saw the horse 
barn, the walls of which were built up, the first story 
out of cobble stones; to the north of this was the hay 
barn, cattle sheds, poultry house and smoke house, 
and over in the barn yard was last year's straw 
stack. This was the Eldad Smith farm in West 
Bloomfield about a mile north of Charles Severance's 
homestead. The Smiths and Severances had been 
neighbors. Eldad settled here in 1828 on a 200- 
acres of timberland. During his thirty years resi 
dence, he cleared his farm, leaving an ample wood 



lot, dug up the "hard heads" and piled them in heaps 
in various parts of the field, fenced his farm and with 
cross section zigzag rail fences, divided it into lots 
meadow lots, pasture lots, and lots for corn, oats, 
wheat, and the like. He erected a large frame house, 
nearly as large but older than Charles's big white 
house. He added barns, corn cribs, hay lofts, and 
other improvements so that when Charles contracted 
for the purchase of it for Charles L. and Chalkley it 
was an up-to-date farm, comparatively speaking. 

Charles L, put in his savings to which it was said 
his father added a considerable amount. In fact, it 
is said that he mortgaged his farm to raise the 
money to make the first payment. Chalkley, un 
married, added his mite. Charles L. moved in as 
manager, furnished the house, provided a home for 
Chalkley and bed and board for one or two hired 
men. Horses and wagons, plows, cultivators, 
mower, reaper, cows, hogs, sheep were purchased 
and secured by chattel mortgages. Seed corn, seed 
wheat, seed potatoes were borrowed from Charles 
or Edwin or purchased on time. On Sunday after 
noon in the late spring, Charles L. and Louisa went 
down the lane to the far pasture to salt the sheep 
and the cattle, and passed by the twenty-acre lot of 

Charles L. : "Look there ! See that field of oats, 
see that dark green color and see how the plants 
cover the ground? If nothing happens, there will 
be a bumper crop. Look at the corn, on the other 
side. Believe its good for hundred bushel of ears 
to the acre. This is a good farm. The potatoes are 


pushing out of the ground. Let's pray for a good 
season so we can pay off the mortgages on our stock 
and tools." 

Louisa: "Is that the Andrews farm off to the 

"Yes", replied Charles L. "Your folk live north 
about three miles and Cousin Frank is over north on 
the Pontiac road about three miles away. To the 
west of us in that little frame house lives Seymour 
Deveraux who settled soon after Eldad and assisted 
at the raising of Pa's log house. Zeke Dye is still 
farther west, I do believe that cousin Van is much 
interested in his daughter. Pa's house is just across 
the marsh to the south, near enough so we can go 
there often and can borrow his tools until we get 
some of our own." 

Louisa: "We can't have a better place to live and 
raise our family, with neighbors and our own folk 
near by. What shall I do with all this work when 
Perry arrives? Maybe sister Lavancha can come 
and help a few weeks." 

They talked over many plans for the future and 
built any number of air castles and were happy. 
In the fall Perry came to gladden their hearts and 
the panic to sadden them. 

There had been large amounts of money spent on 
railroad construction without any returns on the 
investment. The Michigan Southern was extended 
from Monroe to Chicago in 1852 and the Michigan 
Central was completed in the same year as far west 
as Chicago ; the Chicago and Rock Island construc 
tion reached Rock Island in 1854. There was an 


over speculation in stocks and in lands in Illinois, 
Wisconsin, and other middlewestern states. As in 
1837, land companies purchased acreages with pay 
ment of less than five per cent of their normal 
worth. The banks again suspended specie payment, 
money couldn't be had on any kind of security. 
Fortunately for Charles L. and Chalkley, their bor 
rowed money came from friends and relatives and 
unfortunately their wonderful crops couldn't be sold 
because the jobbers couldn't get money to ship the 
produce. Many families lost heavily but the losses 
throughout Michigan were not so heavy as in the 
"Wild Cat" bank era of 1837. 

In the spring of 1858, Isaac W. Lamb a youth of 
nineteen years visited his cousins, Charles L. and 
Chalkley. He was the son of a Baptist preacher, 
Roswell Lamb, pastor of a church in the little town 
of Hartland, north of Milford. Roswell and Caleb 
Lamb came in 1824 to Michigan with their father, 
Nehemiah, who was sent by the N. Y. Baptist Con 
vention as a missionary to the pioneers of Oakland 
County. Reverend Nehemiah and Reverend Caleb 
were pastors at Farmington and Walled Lake and 
other villages in Michigan for many years. Caleb 
took to Homeopathic medical practice for a few 
years. Due to his practice his sister Martha kept a 
supply of homeopathic pills in the house for imme 
diate use in case one of the children should be sick* 
Charles L. learned the curative properties of aconite, 
belladonna, pulsatella, mercury sol, and the like, so 
that he could dose the children whenever they 
needed medical attention. Less is known about 


Roswell but he was like his father and brother 
Caleb, one of the substantial men and loyal preach 
ers of the Baptist faith. Isaac born in Salem, near 
Northville, was also a preacher but was more than 
a preacher. He was an inventive genius. He built 
a machine for braiding whip lashes out of four 
strands at first, then out of any number of strands 

At the time of his visit he was trying to perfect 
his machine for knitting stockings. He went into 
details in explaining his invention to Charles L. and 
Chalkley. His machine, he claimed, was an assured 
success. He needed money for completing his inven 
tion and for getting it patented and then more 
money to make the parts and to begin the establish 
ment of a knitting factory. "Here is a machine", he 
said, "which works perfectly. All we need is capi 
tal sufficient to get it patented and to begin the 
knitting business. It will pay big money. A few 
hundred invested now will yield thousands in a few 

Charles L. : "Is it ready for the patent V 

Isaac : "Nearly, a few improvements need to be 

Charles L. : "Can't you sell the patent to a firm 
or corporation?" 

Isaac : "Yes, but I wouldn't get much. I want to 
form the company, then we will have all that's made. 
Profits should accrue to the inventor and to the 

Charles and Louisa talked the matter over. Louisa 


said : "I don't know anything about inventions, you 
will have to decide. I am satisfied on this farm." 

Charles L. : 'Well, farming isn't what it used to 
be. This has been a hard winter, crops not too good, 
prices low." 

Louisa: "Well, let us not go into an uncertainty. 
Eldad Smith made money off this place, why 
shouldn't we?" 

Charles L. : "Why yes, but here is a chance to 
make a lot of money without having to work for it. 
Just think, as soon as the factory starts we will 
begin to get our money back. Everybody would 
wear these cheap (in price) stockings knitted by 
machinery. Then, too, it would be a question of 
getting our money out of this farm to invest if we 
should want to take stock in Cousin Isaac's inven 

Chalkley: "I will buy you out if you give me 
time in which to pay but I think you are foolish to 
sell and invest in that uncertainty." 

Louisa : "I don't care for 'get rich quick schemes'. 
I don't understand it at all." 

Charles L. was inexperienced in business. His 
father never gave his boys the responsibility of 
marketing produce and buying provisions, and buy 
ing stock. The boys did the work, the father kept the 
business transactions in his own hands. Charles L. 
knew nothing about inventions, the cost of perfect 
ing a machine, securing a patent, establishing a 
factory for manufacturing the parts. Isaac knew 
but little about the way of doing things and the 
initial cost. It was all very wonderful to him. 


Comparatively few inventors do have this informa 
tion but these were minor matters compared to the 
results which they could see materializing in dream 

Charles L. sold the equity in his farm to his 
brother Chalkley, invested all he had, then gave 
promissory notes for additional shares. He then 
settled down as his brother Chalkley's hired man. 




In 1864, six years after Charles L. invested in 
Isaac Lamb's knitting machine, one might have seen 
a pioneer with his little family and household goods 
driving west from the home of his boyhood. He 
and Louisa sat on the spring seat in front of the 
wagon drawn by a team of gray horses. Louisa 
held baby Palmer on her lap well wrapped, as this 
September morning was frosty and the air was 
crisp. Arthur and Eugene were here and there on 
the load of household goods, sometimes in front 
looking over the dashboard at the horses and some 
times romping on the feather ticks just back of the 
seat Perry, the eldest boy was deceased. The top 
box wagon was really full. There were quilts and 
other kinds of bedding. There were dishes, tables, 
stoves, wash tubs, boiler, wash board, bedstead, 
cradle, clock, candle moulds, plow and drag, forks, 
hoes, and the like. In the bottom of the wagon box 
was the little trunk covered with pig skin with the 
hair on. This trunk was an heirloom purchased in 
New York by Louisa's grandmother Bachelor. In 
it was folded carefully and stowed away neatly 



Louisa's wedding dress and Charles L/s "alpaca 
coat 7 ' together with the blue and white coverlet 
which her Mother wove from the wool she cleaned 
and carded, and a few other precious articles 
hallowed by remembrances. Behind the wagon and 
tethered to the rod in the end board of the box was 
the young cow which her father gave Louisa to 
take to the new farm. They were off on their long 
journey at daylight. Charles and Martha and their 
two youngest Jotham and Elmina who were still 
at home, walked to the gate and a piece down the 
road, then waved a farewell and a Godspeed to them. 
As Charles and Martha returned to the house they 
both thought of the same event, the trailmakers of 
1835 who started from Geneva, New York, in the 
covered wagon drawn by oxen. Charles said: 
"History repeats itself. I hope they will have fewer 
hardships than we have had." 

The pioneers stopped at the Eldad Smith place 
where they got their first auspicious start in life to 
say good-by to Chalkley and Martha and their chil 
dren. They passed on in sadness and with keen 
regrets for their decision to sell out and buy stock in 
the knitting machine. Their route was the Pontiac 
and Ann Arbor Road past Frank Orr's where they 
stopped again to say good-by, then by way of Pon 
tiac to Holly, Owosso and St. Johns where Charles 
had purchased a forty-acre farm for $500. St. Johns 
was a little town on the Clinton River named by 
Caleb Lamb. When ihe route of the Detroit and 
Milwaukee railway was surveyed in 1852, Caleb was 
the Baptist minister in Clinton County. He had 


helped survey the plat of the city carrying one end 
of the chain. He cleared some land and set out fruit 
trees. A stock company was formed which pur 
chased the land where the town was to be built. 
Families had already settled here before the survey 
for the railroad was made and before the town was 
named. Several names were proposed, such as Rich- 
Mond, Sweglesville, Johnsville. Caleb said call it "St. 
Johns." Swegle said, "For some reasons, I would 
be in favor of St. Johns". Caleb replied: "Amen! 
St. Johns, let it be." "And thus the child was christ 
ened and thus the name remains to this day." 

Charles L. and family settled in a good neighbor- 
bod five miles south and one mile west of St. Johns. 
His brother, John and family, were already there, so 
was his sister Adelia who married Glover Williams, 
so when the pioneers arrived on the second day out, 
they were welcomed into the homes of John and of 
Adelia and were feasted for several days before they 
settled in the snug little house on their new farm. 
It was a beautiful forty-acre farm, covered largely 
with hardwood trees, lying level, easy to work, good 
soil, sandy loam, well mixed with clay which bore 
good crops. They were happy to have a farm of 
their own after Charles had worked as a hired man 
for his brother Chalkley, his father and Louisa's 
father. He settled here during the progress of the 
Civil War which was a prosperous time for farmers. 
All the farmers not in the army were needed to 
produce enough wheat, oats, corn, hay, beef and 
pork for the army and navy and for the city dwell 
ers. Farm machinery was high but the reaper made 


it possible for a farmer to raise much more wheat 
with the same labor which he employed before the 

Farm machinery was so high that only a few 
farmers could own it. The reaper, which made it 
possible for the farmers to raise larger acreages of 
wheat and oats with the same labor which he em 
ployed before the war, cut the grain for the neigh 
borhood. There was much exchange of work in this 
community. Harvesting and haying required more 
hands than one farm could support so we find in 
Charles's record that he exchanged work on jobs 
which required more than one man. His oxen and 
plow broke ground for his neighbor at $2.00 a day. 
When he couldn't pay in kind he paid or received as 
the case might be, a dollar a day and board for com 
mon labor such as hoeing corn; a dollar and a half 
a day for haying; and two dollars a day for harvest 
work. The farmer who kept a hired man paid on an 
average of $18.00 a month. 

The prices of farm products during these years 
remained on the whole, at a high level which justi 
fied this labor wage. It has been pointed out that 
"the year 1867 was one of market prosperity. Wheat 
was quoted in St. Paul at $1.40 a bushel" although 
there was a fall in the prices of corn and oats. 

After demobilization at the close of the war, many 
soldiers were employed in industrial plants ; others 
went back to the farms and became producers. This 
was a period of very great industrial activity in the 
north. The great cattle ranches in Texas and the 
southwest began to supply the incipient packing 


houses of Armour, Morris and Swift. The develop 
ment of the Pennsylvania oil fields, and the building 
of railroads to the west of the Mississippi and to the 
coast which furnished employment for a vast num 
ber of laborers, thousands of whom were immi 
grants from Europe. The Union Pacific, Chicago 
and Northwestern, the Chicago and Rock Island, 
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy opened up the 
prairies between the Mississippi River and the 
Rocky mountains for settlement. The tide of immi 
gration set in and pushed the border of civilization 
to the mountains. Many farmers living in the 
middle west pulled up stakes and went west to 
settle; soldiers went west. Scandinavians entered 
the United States and moved northwest and settled 
in Minnesota and the Dakotas. 

Charles L., in whom the pioneer spirit still sur 
vived, felt strongly the urge to go west. The urge 
became intensified by the tempting offer of an 
eighty-acre farm for $1,000 twelve miles west of 
Rock Island. His brother's wife's sister, Mrs. Harry 
Conley owned the farm and while on a visit to Michi 
gan enthused her relatives with the great opportuni 
ties for farmers in the west. Thousands of farm 
ers took the trail. Many of them had little to take 
besides themselves and oxen or horses and wagons, 
very few tools to work with. Charles L. sold his 
St. Johns farm for a favorable sum, $450 above the 
purchase price, and without seeing the Illinois farm, 
contracted for the purchase of it in December, 1866. 

Early in April 1865 when Charles L. was plow 
ing ground for his corn crop, little Arthur ran down 


to the field shouting to him, "Lincoln's shot! 
Lincoln's shot!" His father stopped the horses, 
"How do you know?" "A farmer rode by on horse 
back while I was sitting on the gate post in front of 
the house and shouted, 'Lincoln's shot, tell your Pa', 
and galloped on up the road toward Uncle Johns', 
I slid off the post, ran to the house, told Ma, and now 
I am here to tell you. Pa, who is Lincoln?" Lin 
coln's name was a household word in this little vil 
lage of St. Johns and in the rural homes. Families 
had followed in the newspapers, the course and 
events of the War and of the leading men in Wash 
ington and the commanding generals. This family 
developed a love for Lincoln and Grant. In fact, 
Charles L. in later years had a lithograph of Grant, 
his wife and four boys hanging on the walls of his 
living room* They felt a personal loss in Lincoln's 
tragic death, 

John, Charles, and Glover quit work, drove to the 
village for more news. Then they found that Lin 
coln had been foully murdered by a shot from the 
revolver of Wilkes Booth, April 11, 1865. The whole 
country was shocked at the news of this tragedy 
but no town was more shocked and distressed than 
this little village of St. Johns. The people in this 
rural community in Central Michigan loved him and 
were indignant at the foul treatment of the assassin. 


During the eight or nine years since Charles 
invested in Isaac's invention of the knitting machine, 
Isaac had perfected the machine, secured a patent, 


September 15, 1863, and after several unsuccessful 
attempts to organize a corporation for the manufac 
ture of the machines, the Lamb Knitting Machine 
Company was organized in Springfield, Massachu 
setts, and a second one in Rochester, New York, 
1865. Both of these were consolidated in 1867 and 
a factory opened in Chiopee Falls, Massachusetts. 
A small knitting factory was opened at Northville. 
His machine was patented in England, Belgium and 
France and received a silver medal at the Paris 
Exposition in 1867. Thousands of dollars were 
made out of the Lamb knitting factories but the 
inventor Isaac received only a few thousand. He 
went back to his ministry and served the little 
Baptist church at Novi Corners. 

Neither was he so badly off as Charles L. who lost 
all the money invested in the original company and 
was left stranded with promissory notes in favor 
of Issac yet to be paid. He made a new start in 
business when he purchased the forty-acre farm 
near St. Johns but the ' 'dunning" letters from Isaac 
were a constant aggravation. Charles L. reasoned 
with himself, "Why should I 'drop' a few hundred 
dollars more into this business which will never 
yield any returns on the stock?" and besides he 
needed all he could earn to care for his growing 
family. The letters continued to come to Charles 
for sixteen years when an attorney in Andalusia 
where Charles was then living called to collect. He 
handed Charles the note, he took it, looked at it 
carefully then tore off his signature and handed it 
back to the attorney, who had a sudden attack of 


violent anger. Charles was ignorant of the statute 
of limitations which relieved him from payment and 
of the liability of imprisonment for the act of tear 
ing off his signature. Consequently, another note 
was given and paid a few dollars at a time out of 
the earnings of his eldest son who peddled meat to 
earn money to support the family. 



'Every hope has a rendezvous with disappointment" 

The sun rose silently and pleasantly one April 
morning in 1867 and scattered the fog which had 
settled down upon the Mississippi River and Anda 
lusia Creek. After the showers of the night before, 
the farms on the south bluff of the River as far as 
one could see were steaming. The trees and bushes 
in the nearby woods and along the creeks and rivers 
lifted their dark, wet branches to the sun for a 
drying. A little house and an old barn washed 
clean the night before looked black and hideous, but 
welcome, as they came into sight with the gradual 
lifting of the fog which had completely enveloped 
everything. Charles and Louisa and the children 
Arthur, Eugene, Palmer, and Henry, in his Mother's 
arms, were out early to get their bearing and "to see 
what there was to see." To the north of them was 
a well cultivated farm with a good two story farm 
house and a large barn with cows and horses in the 
barnyard; to the east on the opposite side of the 
highway appeared to be the roof of a house but 
advancing closer to the road they saw a good house 
in the little hollow twenty rods from the road a 


?Vt sV 


house set well into the ground and banked up with 
dirt to keep the cold out in the winter. There was 
a good barn and a large straw stack in the barnyard, 
and two boys and their dad milking cows, feeding 
pigs, teaching calves to drink. When Charles men 
tioned the boys in the barnyard, Eugene and Farm 
who couldn't see, cried, "We want to see, too", and 
climbed to the top of the rail fence. Then off to 
the west, were the woods in the valley and on the 
banks and adjoining acres of the Andalusia creek 
which rises way down south and flowed through an 
avenue of forest trees and loses its waters in the 
great Mississippi. 

The birds gave them a cordial welcome. The 
robins hopped about on the grass; the sparrows 
sailed overhead and lit on the roof of the house, and 
in the branches of the big tree nearby; the black 
birds came to investigate and to hope that the new 
farmer would plant some garden corn and raise 
some raspberries. The bobwhite from a distant 
field, keeping his flock out of sight of the boys, called 
to them, "Bob White! Bob-bob-white!" and the old 
crows sailed over to size up the farmer and called 
in joyful caws to their mates in the woods down by 
the creek, "the farmer will plant corn", "the farmer 
will plant corn", "cawn", "cawn", "cawn". 

Then they examined the barn with a lean-to shed 
and the little weatherbeaten frame house of three 
rooms and an attic. The house looked comfortable 
to Louisa who had lived in log houses until she was 
married. To Charles the house was a small matter, 
at any rate they were content to be pioneers in this 


Black Hawk country. Charles said: "I will build 
a lean-to on the west side of the house for sleeping 
rooms and I will make a bigger barn. My first 
straw stack will provide a warm room in its base 
for cows and sheep. I will dig a well near the house 
and plant an orchard on the lot north of the house. 
I must clear more land and break it up for crops. 
What more could we expect for a thousand dollars 
in war time than this farm with thirty acres under 
cultivation and a house to live in eighty acres 
only three miles from the village of Andalusia and 
nine miles from Rock Island a good m'arket We 
ought to make a living off this farm and add im 
provements after we reap our first harvest." 

Then they looked about the farm which had been 
purchased unseen. The soil was a clay loam in a 
subsoil of reddish brown clay which cropped out on 
the erosions of the creek bank and the gulley. 
Andalusia Creek cut through the west end of the 
farm and dropped through the bluffs into the valley 
on the north in a cut some fifty or sixty feet deep. 
Directly north of the house was the head of a ravine 
which widened and deepened as it cut through the 
edge of the bluff back of John Houston's buildings. 
The remainder of the farm was comparatively level 
of which thirty acres had been cultivated; the 
remainder supported prairie grass, shrubs, brush 
and trees. The virgin soil was fertile, the other 
fairly so, 

On their trip from Pontiac to Chicago and to 
Rock Island, members of the family brought a few 
articles with them and had the pigskin covered 


trunk checked to its destination. Charles, of course, 
carried the heaviest baggage; Arthur carried a roll 
tied up and held in place with a stout cord, Eugene 
carried a few children's clothes in a small box, 
Louisa carried baby Henry and shawls and wraps 
for him and for herself. Louisa was desperately 
sick on the lake trip from New Haven to Chicago 
owing to rough weather. Charles was reminded 
of the pioneer trip of his parents across Lake Erie 
from Buffalo to Detroit on their way to the Michi 
gan forests when they encountered high seas. If he 
could be as successful in his prairie adventure as 
they were in acquiring and developing homes in 
Michigan, he would be satisfied. There was a long 
tedious wait in the Chicago station as the Chicago 
and Rock Island railroad was new; the passenger 
traffic was light which necessitated few trains. Dur 
ing the wait Arthur and Eugene looked around in 
the station and discovered other boys. They had 
bundles wrapped in bandanna handkerchiefs. The 
men and women looked dirty and shabby, wore 
shawls around their shoulders and had beside them 
great bundles tied up in sheets and blankets. They 
talked in a language which Arthur and Eugene did 
not understand. They talked with their hands, their 
heads, and their lips. They gesticulated while 
Arthur and Eugene stood with wide open eyes and 
mouths and watched them. There were two types 
of boys, one with black coarse hair, dark skin, 
bright, black sparkling eyes, red bandanna kerchiefs 
about their necks Italians; the other, stolid, heavy 
set, rather ponderous, light colored, heavy hair, 


strong physique, strong characters, with determina 
tion showing in every feature and expression of the 
face, long jeans and large felt hats German. 

Arthur edged around to his father and said: 
"Who are they, Pa, and where are they going?" 

Charles: "Immigrants going west and south to 
take up land." 

Arthur: "What are immigrants, Pa?" 

Charles: "Families who come across the ocean 
from Germany and Italy and from other countries 
to make their homes in Michigan, Illinois and other 

Eugene whispered to his Mother: "I'm afraid of 
them. I hope they don't settle near us." 


Eugene, the second son, who was nearly five years 
of age when the family settled on this new farm and 
thirteen years when Charles sold out and returned 
to Michigan, and who after attaining his majority, 
secured a college education through his own efforts, 
has recalled the life on this farm and written the 
record from which the writer quotes : 

"That first year was a hectic year. Father knew 
that he must have good full crops to pay interest on 
the mortgages on his farm and on his chattels and 
to pay his groceries. Mother was ill much of the 
time, barely able to feed the family. At early dawn 
Father was out to feed his horses, to milk the cows, 
to 'slop' the pigs and cut firewood for the day. He 
was in the fields with the plow before seven. He 
would come in at night and tell Mother he had 


plowed two acres or two and a half acres. After 
supper he would go into the field and dig up roots 
or dig out stones as long as he could see. When the 
ground was ready for corn planting, he took his 
hoe and corn with a few pumpkin seeds mixed in, 
which he put into a little sack fastened on in front 
of him by long strings tied behind his back. He dug 
the holes with the hoe in the right hand and dropped 
four kernels into the hill with his left. He planted 
from daylight to dark, then for weeks Arthur and 
I had to watch the crows and the squirrels to keep 
them from digging up the corn. Then came the 
severe task of planting potatoes after the ground 
was ready. He took a grain bag, tied one corner of 
the bottom and one of the top together, filled the 
sack with a peck or more of potatoes cut up so that 
at least one eye was in a piece, threw the sack over 
the shoulder then started down the row dropping 
three pieces in a hill. We followed covering them 
with our hoes and sometimes took our turn at 
dropping potatoes. After planting time, he hired a 
two-ox team and plowed new ground from which the 
brush and trees had been removed. He found it to 
his advantage to hire a man to work on the farm 
while he worked in the harvest field for his neigh 
bors at $2.00 a day. When he asked a farmer on 
the prairie for a job in the harvest field, the fanner 
looked him over! "You're too thin for man's work 
behind the reaper," but Father bound his beat one- 
third the reaper cut without difficulty. He knew 
how to do it from his long experience, his muscles 
were like steel and he carried no excess weight. As 


a young man he weighed 175 to 180 pounds but 
now with worry and hard work he was reduced to 
about 140 pounds. After the fall wheat sowing and 
the cutting and shocking and husking the corn was 
over, Father began clearing the woodland, splitting 
the oak logs into rails for fences, trimming the limbs 
for firewood and cutting the maple and beech and 
other timber in four feet lengths and selling it at 
$4.00 a cord in Rock Island in the winter while the 
sleighing was good. The next year was a repetition 
of the first. Up early, to bed late. The farm showed 
the improvements due to Father's tireless efforts in 
tilling the soil and cultivating the crops, which 
resulted in the improvements around the house and 
barn, and the ten-acre apple orchard north of the 

"But the year 1868 was disastrous for the farmers 
on the plains because of over production. Vast 
acreages on the prairies had been subdued by the 
plow share and such quantities of wheat and corn 
were produced that the market was glutted. Wheat 
and other grains were piled up in the shipping cen 
ters of the west and besides there was a heavy fall 
ing off in the consumption of headstuffs in the east 
ern and in the foreign markets. Wheat was quoted 
in St. Paul in 1867 at $1.40 a bushel; in 1865 at 95c; 
and in 1869 at 75c. 

'The following year, 1869, Father concluded that 
he could make more money at masonry than he could 
working the farm. He therefore combined the two. 
He hired Mr. Erret to break up new land and paid 
mostly in trade selling mutton at 16 2/3c a pound, 


four-foot wood at 3.00 a cord, a cow at 40.00, a 
calf at $5.00, but Erret was evidently not a careful 
man. He partially ruined one of the horses by over 
heating it in his attempt to plow as much as possible. 
He was paid 4.00 an acre for his plowing. The 
more acres the more money. Father assessed the 
damage at $25.00 whereupon he quit. Father hired 
out to lay stone at 75c a perch and board but pre 
ferred to work by the job, for when he worked 
overtime or hurried on the job he would get pay for 
the hurry and the longer hours. He dug a cistern 
and plastered the sides with cement for 15.00, laid 
an underpinning wall under the school house, in the 
village for $18.50, which is there in good condition 
fifty years later, dug a well for Mr. Houston and 
lathed and plastered a house for 33.50. With the 
help of a hired man, who was not interested in how 
much he could do, he kept the farm going. He con 
tinued this arrangement for several years receiving 
2.50 a day for his mason work and paying $15.00 
a month and board for a hired man or boy. 

"Our neighbors, the Houstons, to the north of 
us whose farm joined ours, were past middle life. 
Mr. Houston had used his strength and energy in 
making his eighty acres pay for itself. He was 
taking life rather moderately now. He was slow 
to anger, considerate, not careful to keep his stock 
within his own fences. Father's corn and potato 
fields were adjacent to his pasture lot one spring, 
in which was an old sow with a litter of young pigs. 
Rail fences are seldom proof against pigs and 
chickens. These pigs were old enough to root for 


corn and potatoes in the hills. Father had already 
replanted several rows next to Houston's and told 
him the damage the pigs were doing. One morning 
when he started to the field to work he saw the pigs 
rooting up his corn. He rushed into the field with 
rapid strides, his anger rising with every step. He 
caught a Poland China youngster which missed the 
hole in the fence and struck it on the forehead with 
his right fist. The pig straightened out, then re 
laxed with trembling feet and died. 

"The Strohmeiers who lived in the house in the 
valley across the road were Germans. Bill and Gus 
were older than Arthur and myself. We hadn't 
settled in our home before Bill and Gus came up to 
the road, got astride the rail fence, and looked us 
over. The Strohmeiers came from Germany and 
settled here several years earlier than we and had 
made a good beginning. They were different in 
their thinking, in their living. They lived apart, 
there were no other Germans in the neighborhood. 
Mr. Strohmeier was a stolid man, of large physique, 
of enormous energy and wonderful endurance. The 
boys were good fellows and playmates much of the 
time when we had time to play. It was my great 
surprise to see the family at dinner eating clabbered 
milk with teaspoons as we eat custard. We went to 
the village school together, sometimes the boys 
would come to our house on Sundays to play with 
us. Mother was very particular about the way we 
spent Sunday. Often when she was ill we would 
go to the swimming hole in Andalusia Creek in our 
back lot. One warm Sunday afternoon when Bill 


and Gus and Arthur and I were enjoying a good 
swim, mother arrived on the scene with a good 
switch in her hand. We didn't have time to put our 
clothes on before she caught us and marched us to 
the house. We boys got on better together than our 
fathers did. Strohmeier's corn patch was just 
across the road from our house. It was in full 
tassels and silk. Our chickens loved to hunt bugs 
in this cornfield. When Strohmeier saw them he 
raged with madness. Father had just driven them 
out of the corn patch one afternoon when Mr. Stroh 
meier and the boys rushed through the corn with 
pitchforks in their hands with which to do him 
bodily damage, then stopped at the fence, damned 
him, shook their fists at him and promised to fork 
Mm if he got into their cornfield again, but father 
walked quietly into our house and said nothing. 

"The Goodes lived farther south. We were not 
on intimate terms with them. The old man was 
profane, his vocabulary was made up largely of cuss 
words. He used them on his boys who were now 
young men. He was a vigorous athletic man, 
capable of strenuous work. The Goodes always put 
up ice in the winter for summer use. One winter 
when they were cutting and hauling ice from the 
river by the village, the old man accidentally slipped 
and fell into the opening, but caught and supported 
himself from sinking by keeping his hands on the 
ice. His eldest son reached over caught him by 
the hair of the head and pushed him under the 
water and then pulled him up and swore at him. 
"Damn you", he said, "unless you promise to be 


good and treat us decent I will shove you under the 
ice." He promised and begged for mercy. He was 
pulled out, wrapped in blankets and taken home 
about three miles away on a cold winter day. 

We reached the Templeton's by going to the back 
end of our farm and across Andalusia Creek on a 
log and up the farther bank and beyond. When 
mother was ill, Mrs. Templeton was the first to 
come to our assistance. Our cordial relations added 
zest to life. Then, too, Cad Templeton, the daugh 
ter, about Arthur's age, was a typical girl of the 
rural districts, and especially charming and attrac 
tive to us youngsters. Coming up the creek bottom 
from the village school, I was once caught in a ter 
rible thunderstorm and was drenched and scared 
and nearly exhausted when Father appeared. He 
wrapped his coat around me and hugged me to him 
and ran into the Templeton's house where we re 
ceived warm welcome and solicitious attention. 
The Houstons were good neighbors, too. Mrs. 
Houston was a friend in need often when Mother 
was sick. 

"Mother's enjoyment, if she could be said to have 
had any pleasure under conditions of ill health and 
strain of over-work and responsibility, was the in 
spiration and fellowship of the church service and in 
her family when she gathered the children around 
her for evening prayer. The Baptist church in the 
village was a small frame church, rectangular in 
form, the door in one end; the pulpit and choir 
loft on a raised platform in the other. The aisle 
was through the middle; the straight back benches 


on either side. Here the family sat through the 
morning service, joining in the singing of the hymns 
and enjoying the Sunday School after the Church 
service. It was a real joy to worship in this little 
church and open their hearts to the soothing and re 
freshing influences of this hour of worship. The 
little chats with the women of the church in which 
Mother confided her troubles gave relief to her bur 
dened mind. Then they went back up that steep 
clay hill, the horses pulling the wagon at a snail's 
pace, to begin their Monday's work with renewed 
interest and vigor. 

"When Mother couldn't go on account of the 
muddy roads or the heavy snow, she sent us on foot 
down the creek bottom. When we returned, in 
summer, we stopped at the swimming hole to cool 
off, or in Dr. Bowman's strawberry patch or in his 
grape arbor, or in Houston's orchard to satisfy a 
nagging of the stomach. 

"Mother's religious faith was the steadying force 
of her life. She cared little for money, but she held 
fast to spiritual realities. In her own illness and in 
that of the children and later of Father, she was 
buoyed up by her firm and abiding faith which com 
forted her and gave her reassurance that everything 
is for the best and that nothing is so bad that it 
might not be worse. 

"The Sabbath was a day for church and Sunday 
School and following these services a day for rest. 
There were no games ; no swimming. Father would 
walk over the farm to see the corn grow, the wheat 
heads fill, to salt the cows and the sheep and to 


estimate the melon crop on the creek bottom. The 
soil here was fertile; the melons large and delicious. 
The boys of the village frequently visited the melon 
patch at moonlight when the melons were at their 

"Father and I were watching the patch one moon 
light night from a hiding in the bushes on the bluffs. 
Father pulled the trigger of his shot gun when we 
discovered a lot of men and boys in the patch with 
five sacks already filled. The men caught the sacks 
by the bottom and spilling the melons on the ground 
as they ran like wild animals down the creek. 


"Father was not a hard task master. He was 
indulgent. On a farm where there is only one man 
to do the work with the difficulty of finding an extra 
man occasionally, even if there had been money to 
pay him, the growing boys found their fill of work. 
Gus and Bill did hard, strenuous work. Arthur and 
I felt the urge to help, so in the course of years, we 
accomplished wonders for little boys. We helped 
Mother with the dishes, kept the wood box full, car 
ried the water for the house up from the spring, a 
fourth of a mile away, drove the team on the drag. I 
rode the horse between the corn rows while Arthur 
handled the three-legged 'grasshopper* cultivator, 
brought the cows home from the woods at night, 
drove them to the spring to water in the cold winter 
when we had to cut holes in the ice so they could 
drink, and helped Father dig wells by manipulating 
the windlass above the mouth of the well by which 


one bucket of dirt was brought up and emptied 
while another was lowered to be filled, set up oat 
and wheat bundles, husked corn and helped load 
and stack the bundles and stalks, and a hundred 
other operations which boys from ten to fourteen 
might do. 

"We had good times with work, with school and 
with play. The one big event of these years was 
Barnum's Circus in Rock Island, in the summer of 
1871. We had seen posters in the village showing 
the elephants, camels, horseback riders, the clowns 
and the like. All the boys and men were talking 
about it. Everybody was going. Father hitched 
the horses to the wagon and started with the whole 
family early on circus day. We were there to see 
the wonderful parade. It was the 'greatest circus' 
on earth, live elephants taught to do things, horse 
races, chariot races, trapeze performances in mid 
air, wild animals behind bars in specially con 
structed wagons, the loud roaring lion, the panther, 
the polar bear, the apes and monkeys, the striped 
horses, the trained dogs, and above all the funny 
clowns the dear old clowns were never forgotten. 
We could think or talk of nothing else for days. We 
relived that circus day many, many times. Then, 
too, we were impressed with the big river about a 
mile wide, gliding smoothly, rhythmically, quietly by, 
carrying on its bosom, the row boats, the trunks of 
trees, boxes, boards everything that floats on the 
water, silently down stream. In the dead of winter 
horses and sleighs and cutters might be seen going 
to and fro across the river and up and back to Rock 


Island. We had no conception of the beginning of 
the river of water nor of its ending. 

"The further fact that the Great Black Hawk 
Indian Chief and his tribes lived in this region and 
rowed back and forth across the river in their little 
canoes excited our wonder and admiration. The 
Black Hawk War in which Abraham Lincoln was a 
captain was waged for the possession of Rock 
Island, the river bottoms and adjacent territory in 
Illinois which had been ceded by the tribe to the 
United States. Black Hawk and his tribe were 
given lands across the river in Iowa in place of these 
holdings in Illinois." 


Life is complex. Many conditions and considera 
tions enter into one's life. Hard and strenuous 
work over a period of years presupposed a good 
physique to begin with, with proper food, sleep and 
relaxation to keep the body in the best physical con 
dition, A farmer needs his machine kept oiled and 
in repair so that it will produce results in crops, 
in livestock, in good buildings and the like, but he 
needs more, he needs business ability. It required 
one talent to produce a crop of wheat, another talent 
to market it to the best advantage. The fanners' 
big problem of the present day is not one of produc 
ing, but one of marketing. Charles showed a lack 
of business acumlen when he sold out his equity in 
the Eldad Smith farm to his brother and invested in 
Lamb's knitting invention and again when he sold 
the St. John's farm and moved to the bluffs of the 


Mississippi. He was never strong on making bar 
gains for his own interests. He succeeded with 
great odds against him in developing his farm, put 
ting practically all of it under cultivation, of rais 
ing a fine apple orchard, just ready to bear when 
he left it, of enlarging the house and barns and 
enclosing the whole farm with fences. It was well 
stocked and equipped with machinery when he sold 

There were two things he did not reckon on while 
he was bending every energy and using every ounce 
of his vitality to make a living and pay for his farm 
accidents and disease. It is said that a man 
doesn't appreciate his health until he loses it. 

"Father went for the cows very early one morn 
ing. They had strayed away to a common wood 
where other cows pastured. He came upon a young 
brindle cow, mothering a young calf, wild with fear 
that something would get her baby calf. When she 
saw Father she rushed at him with head down. He 
grabbed the ends of her horns one in each hand. 
The impact of the horns on his breast was so great 
that it bruised him, knocked him over. The tight 
grasp of his hands over the ends of the sharp horns 
is all that saved his life. The cow rushed back to 
her calf, he rushed in the opposite direction over a 
fence. He suffered a hemorrhage then and serious 
trouble in later years." 

"In the afternon of March 17, 1871, when the 
stork was expected to bring Clara, a baby girl, into 
the home, Arthur and I were at the Strohmeier's 
helping the boys draw manure from the barnyard 


into the field near our house. After unloading we 
all got on the wagon, the horses became frightened 
and ran away, Arthur dropped between the loose 
boards to the ground with sand in his eyes and ears, 
manure on his face and clothes. He was uncon 
scious when taken into the house. A hurry up trip 
to the village brought Dr. Bowman who examined 
him, washed the sand out of his eyes and cleaned 
him up. Fortunately he was not badly hurt. But 
Mother was badly scared. The Doctor stayed all 
night and presented us a baby sister next morning. 
Mother was sick much of the time during the eight 
years on the farm. This meant more work for 
Father, and more dishwashing for us, more hired 
help in the house. 

"Measles, mumps, whooping cough and other chil 
dren's diseases were experienced by us all. These 
diseases were not so serious as a fever that laid me 
low. It soon went to my head and made me un 
conscious for days. 

Dr. Bowman: "It looks like brain fever." 

Mother: "So it's dangerous?" 

Dr. Bowman : "It is very serious." 

The Doctor made daily visits with little hope of 
my recovery, but Mother said, "it couldn't be, he 
must get well." They stood around the bed, the 
Doctor watching closely for any signs of life other 
than the respiration, when the Doctor whispered, 
"did you see the twitching of the muscles of the big 
toe on the right foot?" The movement of the toes 
was the first sympton of returning life. 

"The receipt of a letter in our household was an 


event. The relatives in Michigan were cut off when 
we came west. Seldom did letters pass so when 
Father brought a letter from the village post office 
addressed to Mother, we all were excited stand 
ing on tiptoe to hear the news. "Well/' she said, 
"Grandpa and Sarah are coming to visit us!" We 
jumped up and down, ran around the house and 
jumped over the barricade at the door to keep the 
baby from getting out. "When are they coming?" 
"Where shall we meet them?" and many other ques 
tions were proposed. At last the great day arrived. 
We all went in the lumber wagon to meet them in 
Rock Island. Grandpa Forbush was now a gray 
haired man with gray whiskers, a short man, a hard 
worker, a pioneer, a successful farmer. Grandma 
Sarah was a young woman Mother's step-mother. 
They brought a budget of news. Levanche and 
Elisha had settled on a farm in West Bloomfield and 
have a baby, Edwin; Henry and his family were 
making a good living in Pleasant Valley ; Cordon was 
crippled and couldn't work; your baby brother, Ed, 
has married and settled on a farm about three miles 
east of Pontiac; Frank Orr and Mack Bachelor 
would be better off if they would go to Pontiac less 
frequently; Van Hosner married Zeke Dye's daugh 
ter and lives in Commerce township about three 
miles Northeast of Walled Lake on the Pontiac road. 
Chalkley was doing well on the Eldad Smith place. 
Father and Mother lived their early lives over again 
and were eager to return to Michigan and visit all 
the relatives and friends. When we were tramping 
the fields next day and father told what he had ac- 


complished on the farm, Grandpa turned to him and 
spoke in earnest tones: "Charles, you never can 
stand it to work as you do. What would happen if 
you should get sick?" Sarah said the same thing 
to Mother, but Mother replied: "What can a feller 
do, with a family of five children to clothe and feed 
and no money to hire help .... Butter at 20c, eggs 
at lOc won't buy miany groceries these days." 

"In the fall, 1873, Father met the third national 
financial panic which worked havoc with all fann 
ers, falling heaviest upon farmers who carried mort 
gages on their lands and chattels. The years imme 
diately following the close of the Civil War had seen 
a tremendous expansion of production, particularly 
of the staple crops. The demobilization of the 
armies released thousands of men for the farm and 
decreased the large demand for farm products for 
the army. War industries were closed, immigration 
increased, new farms were homesteaded, others 
were occupied and developed by the advance of 
settlers westward. Consequently, crop acreage and 
production increased amazingly and in consequence 
prices of wheat, corn, potatoes, pork, beef, and 
dropped in accordance with the law of supply and 
demand. Fanners found it difficult to make a 
living. They bought supplies and farm implements 
on credit and mortgaged their crops for payment at 
rates of interest that ate up the profits. Manufac 
turers were helped by the tariff, the farmers had to 
sell in competition with foreign products imported. 
The panic brought on by this condition and by 
speculations is said to have been "The greatest 


panic" in the history of the nation* The falling 
price of wheat spelled disaster to tens of thousands 
of fanners. From Father's account book, I have 
copied some of the items with prices, with which 
he paid John Templeton for work. These indicate 
the level of prices of farm products in this year: 
Corn was 25c a bushel, eggs lOc a dozen, butter lOc 
a pound, potatoes 25c a bushel, lard 8c a pound. 
Wheat was 90c a bushel. 

"Father supplemented the proceeds of the farm 
with his earnings, in digging wells, laying up stone 
walls, making cisterns, in the harvest field. Even 
then in 1873 he and the boys dressed in cotton shirts 
and denim trousers and Louisa and Clara in calico. 
The furniture was reduced to the barest necessities. 
The food was pork, potatoes, corn meal and bread, 
milk and butter and crust coffee. The family was 
pinched by poverty in the winter of 1873-74. 

"In the spring of 1874 when we were planting 
potatoes on the creek bottom land, Father was taken 
suddenly sick with pains and cramps that doubled 
him like a jackknife. Arthur and I were scared. 
We rolled him onto the stone boat and took him to 
the house, got him on the bed and went for Dr. Bow 
man who examined him and observed him a few 
minutes and said, "A very sick man." He came 
again in the evening, then early next morning and 
pronounced it "Cholera Morbus." "His physical 
condition is weak from overwork. His resistance is 
low. We will hope for the best." 


The residents of Walled Lake village welcomed 
Charles L. and his family. Twenty years had gone 
by since he left the Severance homestead and had 
made frequent visits to the village store and post 
office. Even so, he was known by the older resi 
dents such as Dr. Hoyt who had been the family 
physician in his father's family. Then, too, his 
brother, John, had lived in Walled Lake for six 
years. When Charles L. left St. Johns, his brother 
was a farmer in the neighborhood. John had suf 
fered a serious accident. Many bones were broken 
when his team ran away while he stood on the 
wagon tongue between the horses, trying to repair 
a harness strap. He was picked up for dead. 
After lying several months in a cast waiting for 
the bones to heal, he recovered sufficiently to get 
about on crutches, but discovered that his left leg 
was three inches shorter than the right one. He 
was, therefore, incapacitated for heavy work of any 
kind. He learned his father's trade cobbler and 
bootmaker which his father had not practiced for 
thirty-five years. He settled in the village and 
erected a small shop just west of the Pennell Black 
smith Shop and repaired the boots of the boys and 



girls, and the men and women of the village and 
frequently made boots for the men. In this village 
of three hundred people and as many more in the 
countryside, he made a sufficient wage to support 
a family of eight. 

He said to Charles L., who had spent the winter 
with his family at his father's homestead : "Better 
start a meat market in the village. The town is 
growing. There is only one vacant house the one 
you are to purchase, next to mine on South Main St., 
owned by T. Welfare. There are five hundred peo 
ple to be served from this point. There are two 
stores selling groceries and merchandise and other 
supplies, two blacksmith shops, a saw mill and a 
grist mill, which are patronized by farmers living 
from three to five miles away. There are two 
churches, well attended, and a good school for the 
children, no one selling meat nearer than Farming- 
ton, nine miles away. Novi and Wixom could be 
reached with the meat wagon. Here is your oppor 
tunity, with your growing boys to help you, you 
should make a good living." 

The proposition appealed to Charles L. and the 
boys. He had many misgivings about his success in 
this industry owing to the condition of his health. 
He was a different man than he was twenty years 
ago when he left his father's farm. Time had dealt 
roughly with him. His "face was deeply furrowed 
as if by the marks of a ruthless hand, his whole 
figure seemed fearfully ravaged and broken, like a 
great forest maple shattered by the storm. 5 ' The 
boy of fine physique and square shoulders was a 


man of forty-three now, with breast caved in and 
shoulders rounded. He had an intermittent cough 
and suffered at times with extreme cases of asthma 
which required him to sit up all night and breathe 
the fumes of burning salt peter or the smoke of 
stramonium leaves for relief. He started out with 
a stout heart, high hopes, and ideals, and with cour 
age. He returned baffled, out done, broken in spirit, 
broken in body, hopes of a fine farm with well-tilled 
acres, good buildings, well-bred horses, and cows 
and hogs and sheep, vanished. 

There is a worthy saying: "You can't keep a good 
man down." Charles was in the slough of despond 
ency for a time, but he soon began to rally and to 
readjust himself to his new opportunities and en 
vironment. A profound economic change was tak 
ing place in the country, the change from agricul 
ture to industry which he did not appreciate. His 
case was only one in a thousand where men were 
quitting the farm for the factory, for the mill, and 
for merchandising. John had said : "Meat market/' 
Charles was thinking: "Meat market." He re 
called his experience at hog killing time. He knew 
how to stick a hog and cut an artery with certain 
aim ; how to dress a sheep and get the skin off, so the 
flesh would not taste of the wool; how to kill and 
dress beef cattle and the sure strike in the forehead 
that brought the steer to its knees. He said to 
Louisa : "Arthur is strong enough and courageous 
enough to bring a steer from the country to the 
slaughter-house which I could erect back by the 
woods. He could help dress the beef and the hogs. 


We could open a little market in the front yard next 
to the road which I could care for while Arthur is 
peddling meat among the farmers." So his hopes 
rose and the boys became assets to the family income 
just as they did when he was a boy working at home 
and just as the boys did in New Hampshire when 
his father worked for a neighbor and gave the earn 
ings to the family expense fund. So Charles made 
another new start, this time in business. He be 
came a butcher and Walled Lake and community ac 
quired a meat market where its citizens might se 
cure a variety of fresh meat according to their 

"A spring wagon and a horse, butcher's tools, 
saws, knives, and meat block, and a building for a 
market and a slaughter-house were necessary in 
order to start business," he told John. 

John asked : "Didn't you save money in Illinois?" 

Charles : "No ; too much sickness, too many bad 
years, prices too low. The fact is, the home was 
mortgaged for $1000 when I bought it. It was mort 
gaged for $1250 when I left, I made a poor living. 
I set out a ten acre orchard, just ready to bear, built 
an addition to the house, built a barn, broke up forty 
acres of wild land and put it under cultivation. I 
sold the farm for only $100 above the mortgage. I 
have some money which was realized from the sale 
of my stock and implements and machinery. I will 
have to borrow enough to pay for my horse and 
spring wagon. Mr. Moore who runs the saw mill 
will let me have lumber 'on time*/' 

In the southeastern corner of the yard of his home 


facing the road and the lake was the little meat 
shop, a building about ten by twelve. It was 
equipped around the inside of the room with large 
hooks on which a whole beef or a hog or a sheep or 
a calf could be hung. In the center was the great 
wooden meat block. Near at hand were special 
knives, the long straight steel knife for cutting 
steaks, a short rounded blade for skinning animals, 
and a medium straight pointed steel blade for stick 
ing hogs. There were meat saws, the cleaver, the 
scales, and the like. The meat in warm weather 
was kept in a cooler, just back of the shop an un 
derground room, covered with a gable roof resting 
on the ground on either side. The summer supply 
of ice was kept here under sawdust. The slaughter 
house was back across the muck swamp so that the 
stench would not reach the houses. 

By seven o'clock in the morning, the Van Hosners 
living three miles out would hear the clang of a hand 
bell and the rumble of a spring wagon. Mrs. Hos- 
ner would rush to the door to meet a sixteen-year- 
old boy just driving his reddish brown mules and 
spring wagon up to the back door. She wanted a 
round steak. He got down, went to the back end 
of the wagon, opened the double doors of the big box 
and behold! a miniature meat shop with porter 
house, sirloin, and round steaks hanging on the 
hooks, hearts, tongues, rib roasts, spare ribs lying on 
the bottom! There were saws, knives, and steel 
yards for weighing. She may have purchased a 
ten pound roast for fifty cents or a five pound steak 
for a half dollar. Then he went on to his Uncle 


Chalkley's and to his grandfather's and on around 
the circuit reaching home about three o'clock in the 
afternoon. The next day, Arthur covered a differ 
ent section of the countryside. The family lived 
on the meat left over which would have otherwise 
spoiled. He "corned" cuts of beef not sold when 
fresh, salted down pieces of pork, not used imme 
diately. Sausage, pressed beef, and bolognas were 
on sale. The village and the countryside were un 
able to consume enough meat to make the business 
a paying one, but it furnished a living for the family 
for four years and more. In the meantime, consid 
erable building was in progress, masons were needed 
for laying the stone foundations, for building chim 
neys and for plastering at wages ranging from $2.00 
to 2.50 a day, and even more if the work was done 
by the job and if the mason should work overtime. 
So it turned out that Arthur married and became 
an apprentice to his father in the mason trade. The 
market was abandoned or sold out. Arthur soon be 
came the best and most reliable mason in this part of 
the country. Eugene, the second son, hired out to 
work by the month to Van Hosner, Palmer, the 
third son, became a "tender*' for Arthur and soon 
learned the trade. The masons were known by 
their clothes when they came into the village after 
a day's work dressed in overalls spotted with white 
lime. Stone work was figured by the perch, plaster 
ing by the yard, chimney construction by the hun 
dred brick. 

Charles preferred to work by the job, so he could 
favor himself as he was unable to do a full day's 


work. This arrangement gave Arthur a chance to 
do apprentice work. Residents of Novi and Wixom, 
Orchard Lake, Straits Lake, and other places equally 
distant sent for the Severance boys to do their work. 
Spreading plaster and laying field stone which had 
to be broken with a ten-pound hammer and trimmed, 
and then lifted onto the wall was too strenuous for 
Charles. He was physically unable to stand the 

In the spring, if there were no jobs of masonry 
ready the boys turned their hands to sheep shearing, 
an art which they learned from their father who 
worked with them. They sheared twenty-five or 
thirty sheep a day at seven cents apiece. In the 
winter they hauled and cut up a year's supply of 
stove wood. 

After finishing with the meat market, he con 
ceived the idea of buying eggs, poultry, butter, veal 
calves, lambs from the fanners and of taking them 
to Detroit to market. With his experience in pur 
chasing for the meat market and in estimating the 
weight of hogs, calves and lambs, he could go 
through the countryside and buy up a crate of 
chickens, a calf, a pig, a lamb, a few crates of eggs 
and have a load every week or two. He would start 
from the Lake about four o'clock in the morning 
and drive over the plank road to Novi and over the 
Grand River turnpike through Farmington to the 
six-mile house before dark. Up early the next 
morning, he would get his load on the Detroit mar 
ket by six o'clock in the morning in time for the 
early buyers. Then he would drive late into the 


night on the return trip and reach home on the next 
day. At least three days were required for the 
trip. The second year of huckstering was the bet 
ter ; the turnover was larger. He concluded that he 
would make more money by shipping his goods by 
freight to a commission merchant in Buffalo. He 
opened negotiations with one and finally shipped 
him a consignment of meats and apples worth more 
than $100 with freight prepaid. The shipment 
reached its destination, then the firm evidently van 
ished. He could not get the money and he could not 
find the firm. His frequent losses consumed his 
profits. He concluded that he would be as far ahead 
at the end of the year if he spent more time swap 
ping stories with the "never sweats" who congre 
gated daily in John's shoe shop or in Gage's grocery, 
but neither one would furnish bread for his family. 
The long tedious day and night rides were so ex 
hausting that Charles was compelled to discontinue. 
Masonry and sheep shearing were not all the year 
round jobs, so Charles found other work to piece 
out. Then, too, there was more building in some 
years than in others. Once he rented a twenty-acre 
lot from John Dolbear so the boys would have some 
thing to do and planted it to potatoes. At another 
time, he worked forty acres of the old homestead 
about two and one-half miles distant. Later still he 
rented the Compton farm about one and one-half 
miles west of the village, but he continued with 
Palmer's assistance to work at masonry. Between 
farming and masonry, the whole family kept busy. 
Charles was a farmer who did not believe in putting 


all his eggs in one basket. He raised corn, oats, 
cucumbers, built houses and barns, sheared sheep 
so that if one activity failed, another would furnish 
a living, 


Charles wanted his children to have ampler op 
portunities for an education than he had enjoyed. 
It was not possible to keep the boys in school in 
Andalusia because of the work on the farm and the 
distance Arthur and Eugene must go to school. 
While he lived at Walled Lake, his children had all 
the advantages that other children of the village 
enjoyed. They were never kept from school for 
work. The village school had the reputation of be 
ing the best of its kind in the country. None of 
the districts could boast of better teachers than 
Sadie Bicking, Riley Keith, Frank Erwin, and others 
who taught the village school. Charles had ac 
quired the rudiments of a district school education 
in the Green District which were supplemented by 
practical experience. He had many occasions to use 
and to increase his knowledge of arithmetic in his 
business. He acquired a taste for reading. There 
were few books in his home but there was always 
a newspaper and the almanac. He read all the 
books he could get. He once received a set of T. B. 
Macaulay's History of England with his subscrip 
tion to the Detroit Free Press and read it with de 
light and passed it on to his boys. He would read 
the boys' text books on history and would help solve 
their arithmetic problems without touching pencil 


to the slate. He encouraged Eugene, Henry, and 
Clara, who wanted to teach school, to enter the Nor 
mal College at Ypsilanti. He did not know one note 
from another nor the difference between a sharp 
and a flat, but he insisted on his children's attending 
a four-weeks' "Singing School" conducted in the 
church by Palmer Hartsough. 


In a trial in the court house in Springfield, an at 
torney asked the witness from New Salem where 
Lincoln once lived : "Who are the leading men of 
New Salem?" 

Witness replied : "We have no leading men. They 
are all leading men." So it was in this village of 
Walled Lake. Charles was on good terms with 
them all. His credit was good at the stores for a 
year's supply of groceries, if he had wanted so much 
credit. He often "swapped stories" and gossiped 
and talked politics with the men who frequented 
John's Shoe Shop and Gage's Store. 

He was a member of the "Gun Club", members of 
which practiced shooting with the rifle and the shot 
gun. The Club held shooting matches Friday after 
noons in J. J. Moore's pasture. Live pigeons were 
used at first. The pigeon was placed in a spring 
trap which at the signal was sprung throwing the 
pigeon fifteen or twenty feet into the air. The 
marksman took aim and shot just as the pigeon 
opened his wings to fly. Sympathy for the wounded 
birds was so great that the Club voted to substitute 
globular glass shells for birds. The globular shells, 


the size of baseballs, were thrown into the air by 
means of a spring trap. The marksman would fire 
when and after the shell reached its maximum 

Charles probably received his greatest thrills out 
of fishing. He once caught an eight-pound pickerel 
and the possibility of catching another kept his in 
terest and spirits up. He would sit in an old flat 
boat all the afternoon, waiting for a bite and get 
nothing but a nibble, but more often he caught a 
mess of perch, sunfish, and roach. At other times, 
he would still fish with minnows either early in the 
morning or late in the afternoon when the family 
might expect a rock bass, or a black bass. At other 
times, when a gentle breeze ruffled the water, he 
would troll around the lake, and frequently get a 
black bass and occasionally a pickerel. When he 
left his baited hooks at the dock, he might expect to 
get a bullhead the next morning. 

During the fall months, he went spearing at night. 
A torch light in the bow of the boat shed enough 
light into the water so the spearmen, standing and 
searching the shallow bottom on either side of the 
boat, could see the fish lying on the bottom. Then, 
if his aim was good and if he could make allowance 
for the refraction of light on the surface of the 
water, he could spear his fish. It required one man 
or boy to sit on the back seat and paddle the boat 
along quietly. Two hours of fun and work would 
result in enough fish for two or three families. 

In the winter time, he cut holes through the ice 
and let down a baited hook. Later he pushed out 


on the ice a little frame house two by three feet 
and placed it over a hole in the ice three or four 
inches in diameter. When a bass or a pickerel stuck 
his nose up the hole for air, Charles would get him 
with the spear. 

Charles was not a betting man, although he did 
bet and win a felt hat on the election of Garfield to 
the presidency of the United States. He had learned 
from his experience with the knitting machine not 
to take chances. He built many "aircastles" out of 
his fertile imagination, but when the question of 
making a small investment in a "get rich quick" 
scheme was asked, he would say: "You can't get 
something for nothing." During the mild winter 
weather, a layer of ice one and one-half to two feet 
thick covered the lake. Saturday afternoons were 
the holidays or playtime for the community. The 
boys and girls were on their skates, others on their 
sleds pushed or drawn by skaters, others slid on the 
smooth ice. A crowd would assemble about a hun 
dred feet from the shore by the village for visits and 
games. Many horses and cutters were there. If a 
man thought his horse had any speed, he would race 
him across to the point and back, about a half mile 
each way. Clark Jones was sure to appear with his 
little bay mare and out distance any trotter on the 
ice. The crowd cheered as he made the home base. 
Hank Hodge of West Bloomfield was in town on one 
of these occasions. He drove his speckled Arabian 
horse with ill-fitting harness and a home-made cut 
ter onto the ice. After limbering up the horse by 
driving him back and forth a few times, he found 


himself starting across with his old horse abreast 
of Jones' little mare. He drew the lines taut and 
yelled "Go". His old horse took the bit in his teeth, 
leaped forward, kept the lead and made the goal a 
rod ahead of Jones' bay mare. Shouts and applause 
arose from the good natured crowd, wagers were not 
made, wagers were not paid. Would anyone have 
bet on the old horse! At any rate, all the racing 
here was for pleasure, not for profit. 


Charles took his religion with moderation as he 
did his politics. He was not radical, nor was he 
extremely conservative. He was brought up in the 
church and knew the doctrines and teachings as they 
were expounded by the preachers of his day. He 
was baptised in the Mississippi River and united 
with the Baptist Church of Andalusia and subse 
quently transferred his membership to the Walled 
Lake Baptist Church where it remained until his 
death. His whole family, John and Chalkley and 
their families were members here, too. He lived 
through the period of sensation caused by the lec 
tures of Robert G. Ingersoll on the mistakes of 
Moses and the beginnings of the controversy started 
by Bible students who applied scientific principles 
to the study of the Bible, who were execrated at 
the time and called "higher critics". While Charles' 
faith was not greatly disturbed by these new ideas, 
yet he was led to question some of the current be 
liefs of the church that the Bible was verbally in 
spired ; that Adam was the first man to live on the 


earth when history recorded a Chinese civilization 
before Adam's time; and that Jehovah drowned all 
the peoples and every living thing on the earth 
except Noah's household in the Ark, and the like. 
His mind was open to new ideas. He held to the 
essentials of religion and had a strong abiding faith 
in the spiritual values of life as contrasted with 
material values. 

In early life, he worked to the limit of his strength 
and of his endurance with the hope of acquiring a 
farm free of debt and some luxuries in later life. 
Then, he was stricken with illness and lost prac 
tically all he had gained. He was an old man at 
forty and was never able, thereafter, to do a full 
hard day's work, with few exceptions. He readjusted 
himself to his new problems and conditions and took 
life more moderately. His chief desire for his boys 
was that they grow to be honest, useful, prosperous 
men with high ideals of life, with loyalty to home, 
to church, to state. From this time on the boys 
largely directed the activities of the home and 
earned the money to support the family. The 
father's incapacity gave responsibility and initiative 
to the boys. The mother and daughter, Clara, also 
assisted by keeping boarders at the time of the con 
struction of the Air Line of the Grand Trunk rail 
way from Walled Lake to Wixom. The greatest 
service he rendered the boys was to give them the 
opportunity to help themselves. 

He was unselfish in many ways. He would incon 
venience himself to accommodate a friend. He pur 
chased a new mower, and against the protests of his 


sons loaned it to farmer Jim for cutting ten acres of 
grass. Tramps came to his door after the railroad 
was finished and while he lived near it on the Comp- 
ton farm and they were always fed. He went so 
far as to keep some of them overnight. 

"Never go to law," was Charles' advice to his 
boys. This was given after a sad experience in the 
Probate Court of Oakland County. After his 
mother, Martha, died, Elmina kept house for her 
father until she married Frank Sherman. Then 
Jotham married and lived on the home place and 
cared for his father. Finally, his father went to 
Chalkley's to live. He gave Chalkley a legal docu 
ment, a power of attorney, so that he could care for 
all the business interests of his father, and later he 
made a will, properly witnessed, bequeathing all his 
property to Chalkley. 

Chalkley, who had farmed the Eldad Smith place 
for twenty years, was a prosperous farmer. His 
farm was well stocked, his teams of horses and 
mules were ample. His hired men were five or six 
at a time in addition to his sons. He drove a three- 
seated spring wagon in which he brought his family 
of eight to church at Walled Lake. He was a deacon 
in the Baptist Church in which John and Charles 
were members. His eldest son, Thomas Chalkley, 
was in the high school at Pontiac preparatory to 
entering the university. He was an officer in the 
Grange and altogether a prominent man in the 
county. At this juncture the father died and the 
will which bequeathed all his property to Chalkley 
was entered for probate with Thomas L. Patterson, 


Judge of Probate of Oakland County. Nathan, 
Charles, and John felt that they should have 
received a portion of the property inasmuch as they 
helped to earn the property, and that their father 
was unduly influenced to give his fine home and 
farm to the son who already possessed as good a 
farm. Accordingly, they contested the will. James 
D. Bateman of Walled Lake represented the broth 
ers; Arthur L. Tripp of Pontiac was Attorney for 
Chalkley. Several months were required for taking 
testimony. The expenses mounted on either side. 
Mr. Bateman must be paid from time to time, so 
must Mr. Tripp. Money was required for witness 
fees. Nathan furnished part, Charles furnished 
some money that the boys had earned and put into 
the family treasury. Later the best horse on the 
farm, named Duck, of which Eugene was very fond 
and often drove in front of the carriage when he 
went to house parties and to church, was sold to help 
meet the expenses of the suit. Charles was opti 
mistic until the decision was rendered by the Judge. 
He said: "I know we will win," and staked more 
money on the game like a gambler at his cards. The 
Judge upheld the will. 

Twenty years passed. Charles visited Chalkley 
on a small farm near South Lyon. He was living 
alone, got his own meals and ate them alone, made 
his own bed, did all the chores, planted and har 
vested the corn, dug the potatoes, everything alone. 
A lonely man, on a lonely farm, on a lonely road. 
His wife, Martha McCall, died while the suit over 
the will was in progress. The Eldad Smith place 


where the two brothers began life in partnership 
was sold on account of the mortgage. The father's 
home to which he moved from the Smith place, and 
around which clung many pleasant memories of his 
and of his sisters and brothers was sold to satisfy 
creditors. The big white house and barns were 
burned to the ground and the big farm which these 
intrepid pioneers had purchased and improved had . 
passed out of the possession of the Severances. 
Chalkley's eldest daughter, Martha, went insane 
shortly after the family moved to the homestead; 
Thomas C., a graduate of the university, died of 
typhoid fever; Howard, the youngest son, was in 
stantly killed by a bolt of lightning, and Mabel, the 
baby of the family, who grew to womanhood without 
a mother's care, and became a teacher of home 
economics, and died. The brothers renewed their 
friendship although it was cold and distant. There 
was a cordial feeling between the boys of the several 
families. No antipathy developed. 

When the estate of Edwin Forbush was finally 
settled, a few acres of the homestead was inherited 
by Louisa. Charles purchased her brother Cordon's 
share of the inheritance and, with Arthur's help, 
erected a house and barn on the little farm. From 
the east door of the house, Charles and Louisa could 
see the old home and the large maple tree under 
whose branches they were married forty years be 
fore. They were Grandpa and Grandma now. 
They travelled the periphery of the circle which be 
gan at Straits Lake and ended there, covering the 
intermediate points of the Eldad Smith farm, the 


home in St. Johns, the struggle for existence on the 
Andalusia farm and the new start in the village of 
Walled Lake. Like "the rolling stone that gathers no 
moss" they returned to the home base nearly empty 
handed as far as material wealth is concerned. The 
years had brought them rich experience and char 
acter development and a deep appreciation of the 
spiritual values of life. They were keenly inter 
ested in their children and the development of their 
families in which they found their greatest pleasure. 
Here was their wealth. 

The reunion of the family in 1899 at Straits Lake 
was one of the happiest occasions of their lives. 
Their sons and daughter and their in-laws and 
children were all home with one exception. It was 
a mild August day when light breezes from the lake 
played among the foliage and frolicked around the 
children and the older folk as they sat or played in 
the shade of the oaks and maples in the front yard. 
Arthur and Linda, with their little flock, came the 
day before from South Lyon, fifteen miles away. 
Arthur was a master mason and had worked with 
his father at the trade many years. He and Linda 
were extremely unselfish; always loyal and devoted 
to their parents. Grandpa and Grandma loved their 
children, Stephen, Adah, Ora, Margaret, and all the 
other grandchildren. Eugene, a Baptist minister, 
holding a pastorate at Reading, was unable to be 
present. He was graduated from the Michigan 
Normal School and had a year's work in the Law 
School of the University. A message of cheer and 
solicitation was sent by the family to him and 


Frances and baby Evelyn. Palmer and Mary came 
too with their robust tribe of children Willie, El 
mer, Madgie, Grace, and Henry. Palmer was a 
mason, too; also a farmer. Henry and Anna drove 
in from Ann Arbor. He, too, enjoyed the advan 
tages of the Michigan Normal School, then officiated 
as Superintendent of Schools in Lakeview and now, 
after earning the M. A. degree at the University of 
Michigan, was an Assistant in the University 
Library. Clara Weatherhead came early with her 
husband, Albert. She, too, was trained in the Nor 
mal School and had taught in the District school. 
Charles Junior, the youngest of the family, lived at 
home. He, too, was % school teacher and a fanner* 

The men constructed a temporary table in the 
shade in the front yard. Clara, Linda and Mary, a 
very efficient combination, piled the table high with 
potatoes, chicken, bread and other good things to 
eat. There were twenty-one at the table. After 
the children left the table for play, the older folk 
lingered at the table with Grandpa and Grandma 
and passed the afternoon in reminiscences, jokes, 
stories, gossip and in conversation on the intimate 
and serious things of their lives. 

Within the next decade these Michigan pioneers 
finished their work and with clean records, passed 
on. The thought is expressed in the words of Kitty 
McCoy, the Oakland County poetess: 

"But faithfully they toiled away, 
And at the closing of life's day 
Had won the praise the faithful claim 
With the glory of an honest name." 


Adams, Romanzo. Agriculture in Michigan. (Mich. Pol. Sci. 
Ass'n, v. 3, pp. 163-202.) 

Barber, Edward W. Recollections and Lessons of Pioneer 
Boyhood. (In Mich. P. & H. Collection, v. 31, p. 178.) 

Beal, W, J. Pioneer Life in Southern Michigan in the Thirties. 
(In Mich, P. & H. Collection, v. 32, p. 236.) 

Catlin, George B. The Story of Detroit Detroit, Detroit 
News, 1923. 

Chase, Supply. A Pioneer Minister. (In Mich. P. & H. Collec 
tion, v. 4, page 52.) 

Cooley, Thomas M. Michigan. Boston, Houghton, 1890. 

Copley, A. B. The Pottawattomies, (In Mich. P. & H. Collec 
tion, v. 14, p. 256.) 

Crawford, C. C. Reminiscences of Pioneer Life in Michigan. 
(In Mich. P. & H. Collection, v. 4, p. 41.) 

Cutcheon, Byron M. Fifty years of Growth in Michigan. (In 
Mich, P. & H. Collection, v, 22, p. 479.) 

Drake, Thomas J. History of Oakland County. (In Mich. P. 
& H. Collection, v. 3, p. 559; v. 22, p. 408.) 

Durant, Samuel W. & H. B. Pierce. History of Oakland 
County, Michigan with Illustrations, descriptive of its 
scenery, palatial residences, etc. Phila. L. H. Everets & 
Co., 1877. 

Fuller, George Newman. Economic and Social Beginnings of 
Michigan. Lansing, Michigan; State Printers, 1916. 

Garland, Hamlin. A Son of the Middle Border. New York, 
Macmillan, 1917. 

Garland, Hamlin. Trailmakers of the middle Border. New 
York, Macmillan, 1926, 

Glidden, A. C. Pioneer Farming. (In Mich. P. & H. Collec 
tion, v. 18, p. 418.) 

Hale, Philip Henry ed. Hale's History of Agriculture by Dates, 
ed. 5. St. Louis. Hale Publishing Company, 1915. 

Hoyt, James M. History of the Town of Commerce. (In Mich. 
P. & H. Collection, v. 14, 1889.) 

Joy, James F. Railroad History of Michigan. (In Mich. 
P. & H. Collection, v. 22, p. 292.) 

Lamb, Caleb A. Incidents in Pioneer Life, (v. 1, p. 149.) 
Reminiscences. (Mich. P. & H. Collection, v. 5, p. 47.) 



McClintock, Walter. The Old North Trail; or Life Legends 
and Religion of the Black Feet Indians. London, Mao 
millan, 1910. 

McLaughlin, Andrew C. Lewis Cass. Boston, Houghton, 1891. 
Mathews, Lois K. The Expansion of New England. Boston, 

Houghton, 1909. 
Nevins, Allan. The Emergence of Modern America, 1865-1878. 

New York, MacmiUan, 1927. (Hist, of Am. Life, v. 8.) 
Norton, Henry K. The Story of California. Chicago, McClurg, 

Norton, John M. A Picture of Memory-Settlement of Oakland 

County. (In Mich. P. & H. Collection, v. 22, p. 404.) 
Nowlin, William. The Bark-Covered House or Pioneer Life in 

Michigan. (In Mich. P. & H. Collection, v. 4, p. 480.) 
Parkins, Aimon E. The Historical Geography of Detroit. 

Lansing, Michigan Historical Commission, 1918. 
Parrish, Randall. Historic Illinois; The Romance of the 

EarUer Days. Chicago, MeClurg, 1905. 
Poppleton, 0. Early History of Oakland County, (In Mich. 

P. & H. Collection, v. 17, p. 556.) 

Randall, C. D. The Pottawattomies. (In Mich. P. & H. Collec 
tion, v. 7, p. 149. ) 
Sanford, Albert H. The Story of Agriculture in the United 

States. Boston, Heath, 1916. 
Soper, Sarah E. Reminiscences of Pioneer Life in Oakland 

County 1824-1860. (In Mich. P. & H. Collection, v. 28, p. 

Tiffin, Edward. Surveyor-General. Report on the Survey of 

Michigan Lands. November 30, 1815. (In Mich. P. & H. 

Collection, v. 18, p. 661.) 
True, Alfred C. A History of Agricultural Education in the 

United States 1785-1925. (U. S. Dept of Ag. Misc. Pub. 

36, 1929.) 
U. S. Bureau of American Ethnology. Bulletin 30. Handbook 

of American Indians North of Mexico. 2 vols. Washington, 

Utley, Henry M. Michigan as a Province territory and State; 

The 26th member of the Federal Union by Henry M. Utley 

and Byron M. Cutcheon. 4. v., 1906. Publishing Society 

of Michigan. 1906. 
Utley, H. M. The Wild Cat Banking System of Michigan, 

(In Mich. P. & H, Collection, v. 5, p. 209.) 
Van Buren, A. D. P. The Fever and Ague "Michigan Rash 

Mosquitoes the old Pioneer's Foes." (In Mich. P. & H. 

Collection, v. 5, p. 300.) 
Van Buren, A. D. P. "Raisings" and "Bees" Among the Early 

Settlers. (In Mich. P. & H. Collection, v. 5, p. 296.) 


Van Buren, A. D. P. The Log School House era in Michigan. 

(In Mich. P. & H. Collection, v. 14, p. 283.) 
Van Buren, A. D. P. What the Pioneers ate and How They 

Fared. Michigan Food and Cookery in the Early Days. 

(In Mich. P. & H. Collection, v. 5, p. 293.) 
Van Buren, A. D. P. The Frolics of Forty-five Years Ago. 

Some of the Social Amusements of the early Settlers. (In 

Mich. P. & H. Collection, v. 5, p. 304.) 
Watkins, L. D. The Old Log House (illus.) (In Mich. P. & H. 

Collection, v. 26, p. 644.) 


Agriculture Expansion, west 
ern prairies, 132; Illinois, 
114 et seq. Michigan, 40 
et seq; 62, et seq; 93; 
99-101; 109; 149. New 
York, 6; 11. 

Algonquin tribe of Indians, 47 ; 

Albany, 9, 11. 

Allan, Ed. 72. 

Almanac, 69 ; 70. 

Andalusia, I1L, 114 et seq; 

Andalusia Creek, 115, 116. 

Andrews, John, 68, 73, 86, 88. 

Ann Arbor, 93, 152. 

Apples varieties, 60. 

Avon, Oak. Co., 7. 

Bachelder, Abbey. 72. 

Bachelor, Consider. 68, 72. 

Bachelor, Mack. 75, 86-89. 

Bachelor, 'Samuel. 72, 73, 92. 

Bachelor, Sidney. 72. 

Bachelor Settlement, 74, 82, 95. 

Bangs, Joshua. 14. 

Bank of Kensington, 52. 

Bank of Sandstone, 52. 

Banks and banking, 52. 

Baptist Church Andalusia, 

Baptist Church Farmington, 

Baptist Church Pontiac, 71. 

Baptist Chtirch West Farm 
ington, 40, 41, 71. 

Baptist Church Walled Lake, 
47, 146. 

Baptist Missionary Conven 
tion, New York, 2. 

Barnum's Circus, 127. 

Bateman, James D., 149. 

Bee trees, 60. 

Berry, Sam 14. 

Bennets' Point, 80. 

Bible. 69. 

Bicking, Sadie, 142. 

Binding wheat, 63. 

Birmingham, 72, 73, 93. 

Black Hawk, chief, 128. 

Black Hawk War, 128. 

Blackhawk Country, 116. 

Bloomfield township, Oak. Co., 

Boat trip New Haven to Chi 
cago, 117. 

Bois Blank, 17. 

Bowman, Dr. 125, 130. 

Boy's earnings, 58; boy's life 
in Mich., 58 et seq; boy's 
life in N. E. 5, 6. 

Boy's work on the farm, 126. 

Breaking new ground, 48. 

Brindle cow, 129. 

Buckwheat, 49. 

Buffalo, New York, 7; 9; 12; 

California, 78. 
Canal boats, 10. 
Canada, 17, 19. 
Canandaigua, New York, 19. 
Capital of Michigan, Detroit; 



Caravans to California, 80. 
Carson, General Kit, 78. 
Cass, Lewis, 94. 
Cattle, Durham, 94; Holstein, 


Chandler, Zach. 94. 
Changing work threshing, 84. 
Chicago, 13, 21. 
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, 


Chicago & Northwestern, 110. 
Chicago & Rock Island, 101, 

110, 117. 

Chicago turnpike, 14, 20. 
Chilblains, 62. 
Chimney building, 139. 
China, history, 147. 
Cholera Morbus, 183. 
Chores, 45, 60. 
Church. See names of 


Church in New England, 4. 
Church services in the Hos- 

ner schoolhouse, 82. 
Cider making, 60. 
Circuit riders, 71, 74. 
Civil War, 132. 
Clarkson, Cayuga Co., New 

York, 73. 

Clearing the land, 31, 38. 
Clinton River, 21. 
Clothes, weaving, 51. 
Coe, John, 34. 
Coe, William, 73. 
Coldwater, 14, 20. 
Commerce Circuit, 71. 
Commerce schooner, 7. 
Commerce twp., 73. 
Compton, Jacob. Farm, 141, 

Cooking utensils, 36. 

Cord wood, 120. 
Corduroy road, 21, 22. 
Covered wagon, 9, 10, 12, 19, 


Covered wagon train, 78. 
Crust coffee, 50. 
Curing meat, 63. 

Dearborn, 21. 

Denver, Colo., 80. 

Detroit, 1, 2, 7, 9, 14, 15, 17, 
19, 20, 22, 29, 42, 82, 93. 

Detroit Free Press, 47, 69, 142. 

Detroit & Grand River Turn 
pike, 93. 

Detroit & Milwaukee railway, 

Detroit & Pontiac road, 21. 

Detroit & Pontiac railroad, 93. 

Detroit & St. Joseph Railroad 
(Mich. Central) 93. 

Detroit River, 17. 

Devereaux, Seymour, 33, 101. 

Disembarking at Detroit, 8, 

"Dismal Swamp'*, 28. 

District school, punishment, 
69; boarding 'round, 69; 
spelling matches, 67-68. 

Dodge, Betsey, 4. 

Dodge, Harvey, 33. 

Douglas, Stephen, 95. 

Dye, Ezekiel, 33, 90, 101, 131. 

Early settlers, 24, 65. 
Education, 65, 69. 
Emigrant song, 15. 
English Reader (Murray) 67. 
Erie Canal, 9, 10, :28. 
Erie, Lake, 9, 12, 16. 
Erwin, Frank, 142. 
Express boats, 10. 



Family worship, 24. 
Farm machinery, 108, 109. 
Farm wages, (1867) 109. 
Farmer, Elisha, 86, 131. 
Farmer, Lavancha (Forbush) 

75-77, 90, 91. 
Farming Illinois, 118-19. 
Fanning Michigan, 94, 141. 
Farming in war time, 108. 
Farmington, 7, 22, 24, 74, 93. 
Farmington twp. 25. 
Fever and ague, 54. 
Fireplaces, 35. 
Fishing, 61, 96, 144. 
Flint, 14, 21. 
Flower seed, 39. 
Following the trail, 12. 
Food, 50, 90. 
Forbush, Bliss, 73. 
Forbush, Catherine, 72, 74. 
Forbush, Cordon, 72, 73, 75, 

76, 131. 

Forbush, Edwin, 68, 72, 73, 74, 

87, 90, 95, et seq., 131. 
Forbush, Edwin, estate, 150. 
Forbush, Edwin, Jr., 75, 76, 

77, 84-86, 88. 
Forbush, Henry, 75, 76, 79, 

80, 92, 93, 131. 
Forbush, Louisa, 68, 75-77, 89- 

91, 96, 98. 

Forbush, Lyvonia, 72, 73. 
Fort Bridger, 78. 
Fort Wayne, 17. 
Free Bank Act, 1837, 52. 
Free Soilers, 94. 
Furniture, 36. 

Gage, Stephen, 141. 
Games, see sports and games. 
Genessee Co., N. T. 3. 
Genera N. Y., 7, 12, 13, 28, 

German mark, 53. 

German settlements, 72. 

Gilbert, Joseph, 7. 

Gold dust, 80-81. 

Gold in California, 78, 80. 

Goode, Mr. 123. 

Graham, John, 2. 

Graham, Jonathan B., 14. 

Grand River turnpike, 22, 28, 

Grand Trunk railway air line 

division, 147. 
Greene, Aldis Emmet, 25, 34, 


Greene, William, 95. 
GreeneSchool District, 66. 
Grist mill, Farmington, 49, 60. 
Gun club, Walled Lake, 143. 

Hahnemann, 42. 

Harger, Seeley, 73, 83, 87, 88, 


Harrison, William Henry, 47. 
Hartsough, Christopher, 2. 
Hartsough, Palmer, 143. 
Hartsough, Sarah, 42, 
Hartsough, Wells (Thankful) 

12, 24, 25, 30, 41, 42, 51, 


Harvesting, 62, 119. 
Haying, 62. 
Hersey, John, 3. 
Higher critics, 146. 
Highway N. Y. to Mich., via 

Ohio, 12. 

Hillsdale, 14, 21. 
Hodge, Hank, 145. 
Hog killing, 63. 
Holly, 107. 
Homesteads for soldiers of 

War, 1812, 1, 2. 



Homeopathic system of medi 
cine, 43. 

Honey, 51, 60. 

Horses Clydesdale & Per- 
cheron, 94 

Horse power tread mill, 83. 

Horse racing on the ice, 145. 

Hosner, Martin Van Buren, 
72, 75, 88, 131. 

Hosner, Thomas, 72. 

Hosner School, 67, 73, 74. 

Hosner School Church ser 
vices, 92. 

House raisings, 34. 

Household goods, 12. 

Housekeeping, 76. 

Housework, 50. 

Houston, John, 116, 121, 124, 

Howell, 93. 

Hoyt, Dr. James M. 55, 134. 

Husking corn, 64. 

Huckstering, 140. 

Hymns, 16, 24. 

Ice for summer, 123. 
Illinois, 59. 

Illinois farm, 114 et seq. 
Immigration to Mich., 9, 21, 

24, 25, 117. 
Independence, Mo., 80. 
Indian maidens, 45. 
Indian ponies, 44. 
Indians, 44; Indians Walled 

Lake 26-27, 44. 
Ingersoll, Robert G. 146. 

Jackson, Andrew. 53. 
Johns, Horace. 4, 7, 27, 28. 
Johns, Thankful (Lamb) 28. 
Jones, Clark 145. 

Kansas, 13. 

Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 94-95. 
Keith, Riley 142. 
King. See Prentice & King. 
Knitting machine, 103, 106. 

Lake steamers, 9. 

Lakeview, Mich., 152. 

Lamb, Caleb 3, 6, 7, 11, 23-25, 

41, 42-43, 70; Physician, 

102; St. Johns, 107-8. 
Lamb, Isaac W. 99, 102-4, 

106, 112. 

Lamb, Martha, 4, 7. 
Lamb, Nehemiah 3, 7, 13, 24, 

71, 102. 

Lamb, Roswell 3, 6, 102. 
Lamb, Susan 6, 7, 12, 
Land office Detroit, 29. 
Land speculators 20, 25, 29, 53. 
Lands sales 1831-1837, 1, 52 ; 

Land surveyor's report, 2. 
Lansing, 22, 93. 
Latch string, 35. 
Lenox, N. Y., 11. 
Lighting, 35, 51. 
Lincoln, Abraham 95, 110-111, 


Line boats, 10. 
Logging bees, 34, 48. 
Log houses, 33, 34. 
Log schoolhouse, 66. 
Loom, 37. 
Luther, Martin, Hymn, 16. 

Macaulay, T. B., History of 

England, 142. 
McCormick reaper, 62. 
McCoy, Kitty, poem, 152. 
Machinery, 94. 
Mail carrier Walled Lake & 

Farmington 46. 



Maine, 44. 

Maiden, Canada, 19. 
Maple syrup, 51, 60, 
Markets and marketing, 82, 

93, 128, 140. 
Martineau, Harriet, 21, 
Masonry, 121, 139. 
Meat market Walled Lake 

135-136, 138. 
Melon patch. 126. 
Methodist church, 71. 
Methodist missionaries, 71. 
Michigan Central railroad, 

Michigan Normal College, 

Ypsilanti, 151-152. 
Michigan University, 151, 152. 
Michigan soil, 11. 
Michigan southern railroad, 

Michigan state college of 

Agriculture, 94. 
Michigan steamer, 13. 
Mining gold, 80. 
Missionaries in Oakland Co., 

2, 3, 71. 
Missionaries in Washtenaw 

Co., 3. 

Missionaries in Wayne Co., 
3; see also Baptist & 
Methodist churches. 
Missouri Compromise, 94, 
Mississippi River, 115. 
Mohawk & Genessee turnpike, 

9, 12. 

Mohawk River, 9. 
Morse, Samuel (Rev.), 97. 
Mosquitoes, 55. 
Mt. Clemens, 14, 21. 
Murray, Theron, 25, 34, 56, 66. 
Mush and milk, 51. 

New England, 57, 65, 70, 73. 
New England, Agriculture, 2, 


New England song, 15. 
New York, 57. 
New York Baptist Convention, 

71, 102. 

Niles, Mich., 27. 
Northville, Mich., 7, 29, 30. 
Novi, Mich., 4, 7, 22, 93, 135. 
Norwegian settlements, 72. 

Oakland Co., Mich., 1-3, 11. 
Ontario Co., N. Y., 7. 
Orchard Lake, 47, 72. 
Oregon, 78. 
Orr, Frank, 72, 75, 87, 92, 95, 

107, 131. 

Orr, William, 72. 
Ottawa Indians, 47. 
Overland mail, Farmington to 

Walled Lake, 46. 
Over-production, 120, 132. 
Ovrosso, 107. 
Ox yokes, 60. 

Packing houses, 110. 
Palmer, F. J. T. firm, 19. 
Palmer, Friend, 2, .19. 
Palmer, Thomas, 2, 8, 13, 19- 


Palmer, Thomas W., 20. 
Palmer a town later called 

St. Clair, 20. 
Panama, 78. 
Panic, 1837, 53. 
Panic, 1867, 102, 107. 
Panic, 1873, 132. 
Passenger coaches, 93. 
Patterson, Thomas L., 148. 
Paw Paw, Mich., 14. 
Peddling meat, 138. 



Pens, 66. 

Penn. oil fields, 110. 

Phelps, 67, 68. 

Phelps, William, 14. 

Pine Lake, Oak. Co., 72. 

Pioneer life, 12. 

Pioneers, 2, 3, 4, 7, 53, 56, 59. 

Plank roads, 93, 140. 

Planting corn, potatoes, etc., 


Plymouth, Mich., 7, 42. 
Politics, 94. 

Pontiac, Mich., 7, 14, 21, 71, 82. 
Pontiae (Chief), 17, 47. 
Pontiac & Detroit highways, 


Pontiae Baptist Church, 71. 
Pontiac high school, 148. 
Pontiac, Walled Lake and 

Ann Arhor highway, 93, 


Potatoes planting, 119. 
Pottawottomies, 46, 47. 
"Power", 86-87. 
Protracted meetings, 4. 
Prentice and King, 44, 45, 46. 
Prices of produce, 120-121, 

"Promised land", 78. 

Rail splitting, 61. 
Railroads across N. Y., 9. 
Railroads west of Miss. River, 


Rate bills, 56. 
Redford, 24. 
Religion, 70, 71, 125. 
Republican party organized, 


Rifle shot, 59. 
Rock Island, 116. 
Rouge River, 21. 

Royal Oak, Mich., 93. 
Runaway team, 129-130. 

Saginaw, Mich., 14, 21. 

Saint Clair, Mich., 20. 

Saint Johns, 7, 106, 107, 151. 

Saline, Mich., 21. 

Salt Lake City, 80. 

San Francisco, 78, 80. 

Sand Hill, 42. 

Scandinavians in U. S., 110. 

Schenectady, N. Y., 9, 11. 

Schools, 67, 68. 

Schools, N. E., 5. 

Schools, Walled Lake, 142. 

Schooners, 80. 

Scots' settlement at Orchard 
Lake, 72. 

Settlement Oakland Co., 1, 2, 

Severance, Adelia, 57, 108. 

Severance, Arthur & family, 
106, 137, 139, 140, 151. 

Severance, Charles, 1, 4, 5, 6, 
7, 11-12, 15, 23-25, 32, 47, 
51, 54, 56-7, 71, 107. 

Severance, Charles L., 11, 13, 
16, 44, 56 et seq. 82, 86, 88, 
91-3, 95-112, 147-151. 

Severance, Charles Jr., 106. 

Severance Clara, 129. 

Severance, Daniel, 4, 6. 

Severance, Elmina, 148. 

Severance, Ezra, 4, 6, 7, 12, 
13, 15, 25, 30, 41. 

Severance, Henry, 106, 152. 

Severance, Eugene and fam 
ily, 106, 130, 151, 152. 

Severance, Horace, 42. 

Severance, Howard, 150. 

Severance, John, 108, 134, 149. 

Severance, Jotham, 57. 



Severance, Lewis, 11, 13, 16, 
43, 44, 54, 58. 

Severance, Mabel, 150. 

Severance, Martha, 150. 

Severance, Martha McCall, 

Severance, Nathan, 6, 57, 149. 

Severance, Palmer and fam 
ily, 106, 152. 

Severance, Perry, 106. 

Severance, Reuben, 6. 

Severance, Thomas Chalkley, 
30, 86, 88, 103-5, 107-8, 148. 

Severance, Thomas Chalkley 
Jr., 148, 150. 

Severans, John. Salisbury 
Mass., 4. 

Shakes, 34. 

Sheep Hampshire, Shrop 
shire, 94. 

Sherman, Frank, 148. 

Sheskone, Chief, 45, 46. 

Sickness, 54-55. 

Singing school, 143. 

Slavery,: 94-95. 

Smith, Eldad, 33. 

Smith, Eldad Farm, 99, 107, 

Smoke house, 63. ' 

Snowbound, 62. 

South Lyon, Mich., 150, 151. 

Sowing wheat by hand, 48. 

Specie circular of Pres. Jack 
son, 53. 

Specie certificates, 52. 

Spelling book, Webster's, 66. 

Spelling down, 67-68. 

Spinning, 51. 

Spinning wheel, 37. 

Sports and games, 5, 6, 7, 145. 

Stage coaches, 9, 21. 

Steamer on Lake Erie, 13. 

Stilson, Alonzo, 61. 
Stilson, Solomon, 34, 56. 
Stock raising, 94, 125-6. 
Stony Point Baptist Church, 


Storm on Lake Erie, 16. 
Straits Lake (middle) , 95, 96, 

150, 151. 

Strohmeier, Gus and Will, 122. 
Swamp lands, 1, 2. 
Swedish settlements, 72. 
Swimming hole, 122. 

Tallow candles, 51, 60. 

Taxes, 56. 

Tecumseh, Chief, 17, 47. 

Templeton, John, 124. 

Tenny, William, 46. 

Threshing at the Forbushes, 

Threshing machines tread 
miU 50. 

Tifflin, Edward, Survey of 
Mich., Lands, 1, 2. 

Tippecano, battle, 47.- - 

Topanibee, Chief, 47. 

Tramps, 148. 

Trapping, 68. 

Travel. Highway, 10; steam 
boats, 9, 10; canal boats, 
10; covered wagon, 9, 10, 
12, 19, 28; stage coaches, 
9, 21. 

Trees varieties, 33. 

Tripp, Arthur L., 149. 

Troy, Mich., 71. 

Tuttle, Jesse, 47. 

Union Pacific Kailway, 80, 

Village life, 134 et seq. 
Voyage across Lake Erie, 13.